Chevron lining up Watson replacement?

Chevron CEO John Watson is reportedly set to be replaced at a board meeting next month, according to the media reports. The news was first reported this week by The Wall Street Journal.

Also, Financial Times has, citing a person familiar with the matter, reported that Watson, 60, could be replaced by the company’s head of midstream development, Michael Wirth, 56.

Responding to reports, Chevron has released a tweet in which it said: “We are not commenting on @WSJ reporting and speculation re: changes to Chevron leadership.”

Watson joined Chevron in 1980 as a financial analyst, rising through the ranks over the years, to take over as the Chairman of the Board and the CEO in 2010, a position he’s held ever since.

The newspaper alleges that Watson will be handing over the reins of the California-based oil giant to Wirth, following multi-billion dollar cost overruns on large projects such as Wheatstone and Gorgon offshore gas developments in Australia.

According to Financial Times, the Gorgon, in operation since 2016, took $17 billion more than initially expected to be developed, with a final figure stopping at $54 billion; Wheatstone, expected to start producing this month, exceeded the budged by $5 billion more than the originally planned $31 billion.

As for the allegedly soon to be the new CEO Wirth, he has served as executive with president of Midstream and Development oversees Midstream and Development, accountable for supply and trading, gas commercialization and the company’s midstream operating units engaged in transportation and power as well as corporate strategy and business development. In January 2017, he was named vice chairman of the board.

According to several reports, it is Wirth’s refining experience and ability to keep the costs at bay and control spending, that’s placed him in the pole position to succeed Watson.

According to a bio found on Chevron’s website, Wirth, 56, joined Chevron in 1982 as a design engineer.

Since that time, he advanced through a number of engineering, construction and operations positions. Before assuming his current role, Wirth was executive vice president of Downstream & Chemicals. Prior to that he served as president of Global Supply and Trading, where he led the company’s worldwide supply and trading operations as well as its aviation, marine and asphalt businesses.

Earlier, Wirth was president of Marketing for Chevron’s Asia/Middle East/Africa marketing business, based in Singapore. He also served on the board of directors for Caltex Australia Ltd. and GS Caltex in South Korea.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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