Europe’s largest oil group, Royal Dutch Shell, has appointed Simon Henry as its new chief financial officer, a post that will vacated when incumbent Peter Voser is promoted to chief executive on May 1.
Mr Henry is currently head of finance at Shell’s exploration and production division, a post he took over after the company was forced to downgrade its proven reserves by billions of barrels five years ago. He was head of investor relations at the time and played a significant role in steering the company through the scandal, which resulted in the company paying millions of pounds in compensation to shareholders.
The 42-year old joined Shell in 1982 as an engineer at a UK refinery, and has held senior finance positions in Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific. He also spent two years as chief financial officer of ABB, the Swiss engineering group.
The company will propose that Mr Henry is made an executive director at its annual general meeting on May 19. Shell has traditionally promoted its internal candidates to the chief financial officer role.
Current chief executive Jeroen van der Veer is retiring in July this year, but the company proposed that he should join the board as a non-executive director after he steps down, as well as a member of the board’s corporate and social responsibility committee.
Charles Stanley oil analyst Tony Sheppard, who has a hold stance on the shares, said: “I am very pleased to see that Mr Henry has been appointed. It’s good to have an internal candidate who thoroughly knows the business and he handled the reserve downgrade issue very well for the company.”
Shell’s profits plummeted in the fourth quarter of last year after the oil price tumbled to below $40 a barrel. The company’s shares moved 0.4pc higher to Ł15.87 in London, in line with gains in the oil price.