Chevron Corporation last Thursday announced that its Board of Directors elected Michael K. Wirth chairman of the board and chief executive officer, effective February 1, 2018. Wirth, who is currently vice chairman of the board and executive vice president of Midstream and Development, succeeds John S. Watson, who will retire from the company and its board on February 1, 2018, after 37 years of distinguished service, including eight years as chairman and CEO.
Wirth joined Chevron in 1982 as a design engineer. Since that time, he advanced through a number of engineering, construction and operations positions. Wirth was named vice chairman of the board of directors in February 2017. He is also executive vice president of Midstream and Development, a position he has held since 2016. Previously, he was executive vice president of Downstream & Chemicals for nearly a decade. Prior to that he served as president of Global Supply and Trading and president of Marketing for Chevron's Asia/Middle East/Africa business, based in Singapore. He also served on the board of directors for Caltex Australia Limited and GS Caltex in South Korea.
Watson, who turns 61 in October, joined Chevron in 1980 as a financial analyst and went on to hold financial, analytical and supervisory positions before being appointed president of Chevron Canada Limited in 1996. In 1998, he was named a corporate vice president with responsibility for strategic planning and mergers and acquisitions. In 2000, Watson led the company's integration effort following the Chevron-Texaco merger and then became the corporation's chief financial officer. In 2005, he became president of Chevron International Exploration and Production. In April 2009, he was named vice chairman of the company, before being elected chairman and CEO in September of that year.
Separately, Valvoline Inc. announced last Friday that William A. Wulfsohn, who served as Valvoline’s founding chairman during its initial year as a public company, will step aside from his position as chairman of the board as of Sept. 30, 2017, the company’s fiscal year end. Wulfsohn has also stated he will not stand for re-election at the company’s 2018 annual shareholder meeting. Wulfsohn is chairman and chief executive officer of Ashland Global Holdings Inc., Valvoline’s former parent company. Wulfsohn joined Valvoline’s board last year to guide Valvoline™ through its separation from Ashland and first year as a publicly traded company. Wulfsohn’s announcement that he will step aside as chairman and later retire from his board position at Valvoline comes one year following Valvoline’s initial public offering in September 2016.
The board has unanimously named Stephen F. Kirk to replace Wulfsohn as board chairman. Kirk has served as an independent director on Valvoline’s board and is the chair of Valvoline’s compensation committee. Kirk brings with him extensive board and industry experience. Kirk served in an executive role at the Lubrizol Corporation from 1992 until his retirement in 2011. He also previously served on the boards of Ashland Global Holdings and Robbins & Myers, Inc.