LONDON - Energy giant Shell said Thursday that chief executive Peter Voser will retire next year, as it posted falling first-quarter net profits due to lower crude oil prices.
"The board of Royal Dutch Shell plc today announced that Peter Voser, as chief executive officer, has elected to retire from the company in the first half of 2014," the Anglo-Dutch group said in a statement which gave no reason for his decision.
Voser, 54, has been chief executive since July 2009. The group added it will now seek a comprehensive review of internal and external candidates to succeed him.
The news was delivered alongside a six-per cent drop in first-quarter net profits to US$8.18 billion (S$10.09 billion), as the group's performance was hit by lower oil prices and global economic uncertainty.
Earnings after taxation in the three months to March compared with $8.7 billion in the same period of last year.
"Our industry continues to see significant energy price volatility as a result of economic and political developments," Voser said in the earnings release.
"Oil prices have fallen recently but Shell is implementing a long-term, competitive and innovative strategy against this volatile backdrop."
Shell added on Thursday that its current cost of supplies - which strips out gains or losses in the value of inventories - rose four per cent to US$7.95 billion, as it was lifted by higher refining margins.
Total oil and gas production meanwhile edged higher to 3.559 million barrels of oil equivalent per day in the reporting period, from 3.552 million in the same part of 2012.
Output was affected by security problems in Nigeria and divestments.
Shell chairman Jorma Ollila meanwhile praised Voser's leadership of the Anglo-Dutch giant.
"Peter's leadership of Shell over the last four years has been impressive, reorganizing the company, delivering growth, and developing a clear forward strategy with a strong portfolio of new options," he said.
"I have enjoyed working with Peter, in a period of great change and progress for Shell, and I wish him well for the future."