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Mike Wirth will remain Chevron’s chief executive for the foreseeable future after the company waived a mandatory retirement age of 65 as it seeks to ensure continuity during a volatile period for the oil and gas industry.
Wirth, who turns 63 later this year, has been at the helm of the supermajor since 2018.
The company announced the decision to scrap the retirement age as it posted profits of $6bn for the second quarter, down slightly from the previous quarter but ahead of Wall Street estimates.
“We’ve got strong business momentum and we’ve been delivering good results in a pretty turbulent environment. I had stuff that I still want to get done and I’m excited to continue,” Wirth told the Financial Times.
“We’ve been through a lot. We’ve been through a pandemic, a war, oil price below zero and above $120 [a barrel]. We’ve acquired three companies in the last three years. We’ve got a lot of work still to get done. And this provides continuity and flexibility of the executive team going forward.”
Chevron’s decision to scrap its mandatory retirement age highlights the Wall Street trend of older executives increasingly remaining in position for longer.
JPMorgan offered its 67-year-old chief executive Jamie Dimon $50mn as a “retention bonus” in an effort to keep him in the role until at least 2026. Bank of America chief Brian Moynihan, 63, and BlackRock boss Larry Fink, 70, have both indicated they have no plans to retire. Berkshire Hathaway chief executive Warren Buffett, 92, Wall Street’s oldest leader, has not yet announced a departure date.
The decision to extend Wirth’s tenure comes after the company made record profits of more than $35bn in 2022. During his time running Chevron it has returned more than $70bn to shareholders as Wall Street places increasing emphasis on returns over growth.
The company has made three acquisitions worth a combined $14bn over the past three years. It walked away from an attempted takeover of Anadarko Petroleum in 2019 after a bidding war broke out with rival Occidental Petroleum.
Chevron also said on Sunday that Pierre Breber, its chief financial officer will retire next March after a 35-year career at the company. He will be replaced by Eimear Bonner, Chevron’s current chief technology officer, who previously led its Tengizchevroil joint venture in Kazakhstan.
“Eimear is a terrific leader with a strong track record of performance,” said Wirth. “She’s run big, complex businesses, including our affiliate in Kazakhstan. In big jobs like that, you need to understand how the financial part of your business works, which she does very well.”
The leadership announcements came as America’s second biggest supermajor reported second-quarter earnings of $6bn, in an abridged snapshot of its results for the period. The figure was down 9 per cent from the previous quarter and 48 per cent from the same period last year when soaring oil and gas prices sent profits soaring to record levels. But it was ahead of Wall Street estimates of $5.6bn, according to S&P Capital IQ.
“I’m very satisfied,” said Wirth of the results. “It’s a good strong quarter. It’s a good strong leadership team and one I’m excited to have more run-room with.”
The company is set to report its full second-quarter earnings on Friday, alongside rival ExxonMobil.