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Shell’s new boss Wael Sawan gets ready for some ups and downs

Shell’s new boss Wael Sawan gets ready for some ups and downs

By Jon Yeomans

Congratulations to Wael Sawan, the new boss of Shell, who will be taking over from Ben van Beurden next year. Sawan, a company lifer, will have to lead the oil giant through a treacherous period.

For starters, it is making an obscene amount of money while people worry about keeping the heating on. It also has to work out whether it really wants to be a leader in renewable energy.

But what do we know of Sawan? An impressive CV and a squeaky-clean page on LinkedIn. Sawan’s interests are listed as Harvard Business School, a couple of energy companies, and a furniture maker in Dubai.

Still, with BP boss Bernard Looney likening his company to a “cash machine”, Shell is wise to pick a dull CEO.

Delving a little deeper, though, it seems Sawan is a thoughtful chap. In a 2019 interview with Argentinian newspaper La Nacion, he said:'”Good people come and go. The institutions are those that remain. And if you believe in institutions you can create value.”

”Creating value” is music to shareholders’ ears­ although Sawan also mused; “All countries go through good times and difficult times … We have ups and downs:’

Investors will want more ups than downs, Wael.

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