Chevron waives retirement age for CEO and reports strong oil earnings

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Mike Wirth will remain Chevron’s chief executive for the foreseeable future after the company waived its mandatory retirement age of 65 as it seeks to ensure continuity during a volatile time for the oil and gas industry.

Wirth, who will turn 63 later this year, has been at the helm since 2018.

The company announced its decision to eliminate the retirement age as it reported profits of $6 billion for the second quarter, down slightly from the previous quarter but ahead of Wall Street estimates.

“We have strong momentum in the business and we’ve done well in a very turbulent environment. I had things I still wanted to get done and I’m excited to keep doing that,” Wirth told the Financial Times.

“We’ve been through a lot. We’ve been through a pandemic, a war, oil prices below zero and above $120.” [a barrel]. We have acquired three companies in the past three years. We still have a lot of work to do. This provides continuity and flexibility to the executive team moving forward.”

Chevron’s decision to eliminate the mandatory retirement age highlights a Wall Street trend of older CEOs staying in office longer.

JPMorgan has offered its 67-year-old CEO Jamie Dimon a $50 million “retention bonus” in a bid to keep him in the job until at least 2026. Bank of America President Brian Moynihan, 63, and BlackRock Chairman Larry Fink, 70, have indicated that they do not plan to retire. Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, 92, the oldest leader on Wall Street, has not announced when he will leave.

The decision to extend Wirth’s term comes after the company posted record profits of more than $35 billion in 2022. During his tenure at Chevron, the company returned more than $70 billion to shareholders, as Wall Street increasingly focused on returns over growth.

The company has made three acquisitions totaling $14 billion over the past three years. It backed out of a bid to take over 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 in March after 35 years with the company. He will be replaced by Emir Bonner, Chevron’s current chief technology officer, who previously led its Tengizchevroil joint venture in Kazakhstan.

“Emmer is a fantastic leader with a great track record,” Wirth said. “She runs a large, complex business, including our subsidiary in Kazakhstan. On big jobs like that, you need to understand how the financial part of your business works, which you do very well.”

The leadership announcements came as America’s second-biggest president announced second-quarter earnings of $6 billion, in a snapshot of its results for the period. The figure was down 9 percent from the previous quarter and 48 percent from the same period last year when higher oil and gas prices sent profits to record highs. But it was well ahead of Wall Street’s estimate of $5.6 billion, according to S&P Capital IQ.

“I am very satisfied,” Wirth said of the results. “It’s a good strong quarter. It’s a good strong leadership team and I’m excited to have more space with him.”

The company is set to report full second-quarter earnings on Friday, along with rival ExxonMobil.

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