December 15, 2016 / 12:37 PM / 9 months ago

Shell finance chief to leave company in March

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) Chief Financial Officer Simon Henry will step down in March after seven years in the post and be replaced by Jessica Uhl, a finance executive in Shell’s gas business.

Henry, a 55-year-old Shell veteran, was one of the executives who oversaw the $54 billion (43.27 billion pound) acquisition of BG Group, which completed in February, and the integration of the gas company which turned Shell into the world’s largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) trader.

His successor, Jessica Uhl, will take over on March 9. She joined Shell in 2004 and has worked at Enron in the United States and Panama, and Citibank. Relatively unknown to the wider market, Shell said 48-year-old, U.S.-born Uhl was picked after a review of internal and external candidates.

“Jessica combines an external perspective with broad Shell experience and is a highly regarded executive,” Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said.

Henry did not disclose why he was leaving, nor what he would do next.

His departure was unlikely to change Shell’s financial priorities in the wake of the BG deal, Barclays analyst Lydia Rainforth said.

Shell’s London shares were 0.6 percent higher at 1200 GMT.

Uhl will be Shell’s second female CFO. Judy Boynton served as finance director from 2001 to 2004 before leaving following Shell’s admission it had overstated oil reserves.

Henry has worked at Shell for 34 years, including more than seven as CFO.

“With the BG deal done, the integration complete and Shell’s strategy set it felt like a natural moment for Simon to go,” said one senior source at the company, adding Henry’s departure was his own decision.

“The board is grateful to Simon for strengthening capital management and the balance sheet such as to allow the acquisition of BG and executing that deal,” Shell Chairman Charles Holliday said in a statement.

Shell said Henry would remain available to the company until June 30, 2017.

Additional reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by David Clarke and Mark Potter

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