Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE:RDS-A) (NYSE:RDS-B) has selected Ben van Beurden, the company's downstream director, to take over the helm of the oil and gas company from current CEO Peter Voser, effective Jan. 1, the company's board of directors announced today.

Voser, will have been with Shell for 29 years when he leaves the company at the end of March, 2014. Van Beurden, 55, joined Shell in 1983. He has worked in the company's "upstream" segments, which are engaged in the exploration, recovery, and transportation of oil and natural gas, as well as Shell's "downstream" segment, which is responsible for the manufacturing, distribution, and marketing of its products. He's been downstream director since January.

"Van Beurden's selection came after a comprehensive assessment and review of internal and external candidates led by the Board Nomination and Succession Committee," board of directors Chairman Jorma Ollila said in the company's announcement.


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