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Ben van Beurden’s resignation at Shell takes 2022 tally of FTSE 100 CEO departures to 18

·3-min read
The head of the FTSE 100’s most valuable company joins the list of departees from constituents on London’s  top-tier stock index  (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)
The head of the FTSE 100’s most valuable company joins the list of departees from constituents on London’s top-tier stock index (Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

Almost one-fifth of the chief executives at FTSE 100 companies have announced plans to step down from the top jobs this year, with Ben van Beurden’s resignation at Shell taking the number of outgoing CEOs up to 18.

The 64-year-old company lifer’s departure after almost a decade in charge was less of a surprise than the previous such announcement from a FTSE 100 constituent. Reckitt Benckiser’s shares took a hit earlier this month on news of Laxman Narasimhan‘s departure after only three years at the helm. The consumer goods giant is still looking for a long-term successor as Narasimhan heads back to his native US to run Starbucks, the global coffee chain.

Shell has already announced that another insider, Wael Sawan, will take over permanently from the end of the year. Its shares were down 0.9% at 2319p in London, in line with trading in other oil majors.

Russ Mould, investment director at stockbroker AJ Bell, said van Beurden had “a good innings” at the top of Shell, adding:

“Timing is everything, I guess. He can go out with profits booming, debt down, the dividend going back up and 2015’s acquisition of BG Group for its liquified natural gas capabilities and deep-water exploration looking pretty smart.”

AJ Bell looked at the trends over FTSE 100 CEO departues announced in 2022 when Narasimhan’s transatlantic move took the headlines. It found that because some of the changes don’t take effect until next year, the actual turnover of top jobs on the main UK stock index is below the average level seen between 2000 and 2021.

But with another blockbuster name at the top of the list, it makes striking reading for investors, City experts and senior executives alike. Here it is in full, starting with FTSE 100 constituents that have already had changeovers at the top this year:

  • Johnson Matthey -- Robert MacLeod replaced by Liam Condon

  • Prudential -- Mike Wells replaced by Mark FitzPatrick (interim)

  • Burberry -- Marco Gobbetti replaced by Jonathan Akeroyd

  • Smith & Nephew -- Roland Diggelmann replaced by Deepak Nath

  • Anglo American -- Mark Cutifani replaced by Duncan Wanblad

  • Taylor Wimpey -- Pete Redfern replaced by Jennie Daly

  • JD Sports Fashion -- Peter Cowgill replaced by Kath Smith (interim)

And here are the announced changes that will take effect at or before the end of 2022:

  • Shell -- Ben van Beurden will step downand Wael Sawan will step up

  • Reckitt Benckiser -- Laxman Narasimhan will give way to Nicandro Durante (interim)

  • JD Sports Fashion -- Kath Smith (interim) will make way for permanent replacement Regis Schultz

And those going in 2023:

  • Rolls-Royce -- Warren East heads off and Tufan Erginbilgic joins

  • Prudential -- Mark FitzPatrick (interim) leaves and Anil Wadhwani takes over

  • Rightmove -- Peter Brooks-Johnson packs up, no successor named

  • Whitbread -- Alison Brittain steps down and Dominic Paul steps up

  • B&M European Value Retail -- Simon Arora goes and Alex Russo comes in

  • United Utilities -- Steve Mogford goes and Louise Beardmore arrives

  • Halma -- Andrew Williams goes and Marc Ronchetti joins

  • M&G -- John Foley retires, no successor named