Outgoing Shell (LON:SHEL) chief executive, Ben van Beurden, hosted his final quarterly results media presentation yesterday, reflecting on his time at the helm of the supermajor.
The firm’s boss is set to stand down from the role he has held for almost a decade at the end of 2022 with his successor, Wael Sawan, taking over at the beginning of next year.
After nine years in the job, Ben van Beurden reminisced on his time at the London-based energy giant, saying: “It has been indeed been quite a turbulent time and it a lot of people have remarked on ‘wasn’t that tough that nine years after more or less constant turmoil?’, I actually consider it a blessing because it made for quite a consequential period.”
The right calls
He noted that the achievement he was most proud of was making “the company incomparably stronger with 65% higher income” and increasing diversity at the firm.
During van Beurden’s time at the helm of the energy giant, female representation has grown to one-third.
He told the journalists in attendance that his company had been operating at a lower cost since he took charge, reducing capital expenditure by 40%, something he was very proud of.
“In our own operations, (we have had) 80% less process safety incidents compared to when I started,” said van Beurden.
A few regrets
Explaining that there was little he regrets when looking back on his time at Shell, telling his audience: “Of course, everything that we have done on carbon and that may be another point of pride in the fact that we have been and are still the leading company when it comes to carbon management in the industry, but there are a few regrets.
“Not in the sense that I made the wrong decisions, but with the benefit of hindsight, more often that I made them a little bit too late.”
He explained that he believes his firm should have moved out of the Arctic sooner than it did.
“But the benefit of hindsight is to look back on it and think couldn’t I’ve done that earlier as faster, so a mix of prior regrets but I suppose that’s always the case after nine years.”
Before fielding the outgoing boss questions, many reporters in attendance at the digital question and answer session thanked the Shell chief executive for his service over the years and wished him well in his future endeavours.