Royal Dutch Shell boss Peter Voser on Thursday
announced plans to step down in 2014, as the oil giant posted a small
increase in first quarter profits to 7.5 billion dollars.
Voser, who became chief executive in July 2009, said he wanted a "change in lifestyle" and to spend more time with his family.
"After almost 10 years as chief executive and chief financial officer and more than 25 years in Shell, I have elected to retire in the first half of 2014," he wrote in a message to staff.
The 54-year-old Swiss national said Shell had paid out 11 billion dollars to shareholders in the past year, more than any other company in the industry.
The Anglo-Dutch company said it would consider internal and external candidates to fill the position and aimed for an "orderly transition."
"Peter's leadership of Shell over the last 4 years has been impressive, reorganizing the company, delivering growth, and developing a clear forward strategy with a strong portfolio of new options," said chairman Jorma Ollila.
The company's first quarter profits, which posted a year-on-year increase of 3 per cent, were better than predicted by analysts.
The profits came despite a recent drop in oil prices and a "difficult security environment in Nigeria," Voser said.
Shell is developing 30 projects, while asset sales of 21 billion dollars over the past three years meant the business could improve its capital efficiency and attract strategic partners, he said.
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