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Former BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie the next Shell chairman

The appointment of Andrew Mackenzie continues the tradition of directors swapping between oil and gas and mining majors
Former BHP boss Andrew Mackenzie the next Shell chairman
  • Andrew Mackenzie to replace Chad Holliday as Shell chairman
  • Former BP boss Tony Hayward to stay another year as Glencore chairman

Sir Andrew Mackenzie will take over as Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) chairman next year, replacing American Chad Holliday, who has been in the role for six years. He comes to guide Shell through the energy transition, after the company said it would stay on its “asset-light” path to cutting its emissions rather than investing heavily in renewables and low-carbon technology like BP (BP.) and Total (FR:FP). 

At BHP (BHP), the world’s biggest mining company by market capitalisation, Mackenzie sold its shale business to BP and launched a plan to cut scope 3 emissions, which are those linked to a company’s products after they’ve been sold. 

Mackenzie highlighted the energy transition as his key challenge as chairman. “I look forward to working with Ben van Beurden and the board to profitably accelerate Shell’s transition into a net-zero emissions energy business that continues to generate substantial value for shareholders, customers and communities alike,” he said.

Van Beurden’s future is also likely to be a focus, given he has been in the job since 2014. He is the longest-serving boss of the supermajors, after Bob Dudley stepped down from BP last year. 

Mackenzie ran BHP between 2013 and 2019, and worked for BP as a geologist before moving into mining. In coming back to the oil and gas world he has taken the opposite path to former BP chief executive Tony Hayward, who will stay one more year as Glencore (GLEN) chairman. 

Hayward’s time in the job was extended last year so he could run the hiring process for Ivan Glasenberg’s successor. Gary Nagle, a 20-year Glencore veteran, will take over by the end of June.

Hayward sticking around means he will be well past the UK Corporate Governance Code's recommended term limit of nine years from board appointment. The rest of the board wants him around longer “due to the management succession taking place and the ongoing investigations”. 

Glencore only just hit a one-third female board composition with the appointment of former Anglo American (AAL) boss Cynthia Carroll. The mining and trading company still has a male-dominated senior leadership cohort, however, and said in its 2020 annual report it did not believe "that a one-size-fits-all [diversity] policy is appropriate or currently achievable” for management. Out of its 21-strong team of executive and division heads, only one is a woman. 

The Baar, Switzerland-based company said it was “challenging to fill senior positions in remote mining locations and for the marketing of commodities, [with] women”.

Last IC Views: Glencore: Hold, 292p, 16 Feb 2021; Royal Dutch Shell: Sell, 1,300p, 12 Feb 2021