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Mark Williams charting the stream for Shell

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Published: December 5 2008 02:00 | Last updated: December 5 2008 02:00

When Mark Williams takes over at Royal Dutch Shell as the new director of downstream in January, he has two important decisions to make.

They will be the appointments of the rising stars of Shell’s future and will offer a glimpse of the changes to come under new chief executive Peter Voser when he takes over next July.

As the new head of Europe’s biggest producer and seller of oil products, Mr Williams will first find a successor for himself as head of oil products supply and distribution, as well as a new head of refining to replace Lynn Elsenhans, who left earlier in the year.

At 57, Mr Williams brings plenty of experience to the job.

He is also older than his future boss, Mr Voser, who is 50, but will be under no pressure to serve a brief term, as the retirement age in the Netherlands, where he will be based, is 65.

A US citizen, Mr Williams has a daunting intellectual pedigree: he was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and has a doctorate in theoretical physics from Stanford.

He joined Shell’s exploration and drilling business in 1979 in the US and has held a variety of upstream and downstream positions in the company. He chairs the executive committee of the Athabasca Oil Sands Project and the downstream committee of the American Petroleum Institute. A father of two, he enjoys astronomy.

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