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Chevron CEO Watson to step down: report

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By Agence France-Presse

Chevron chief executive John Watson plans to step down as the petroleum industry prepares for a period of lower oil prices, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

A transition would be announced next month. The leading front-runner to replace Watson is executive vice president Mike Wirth, but the plan has not been finalized and could still change, said the newspaper, citing unnamed sources.

This file photo taken on June 2, 2015 shows Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson as he addresses a keynote speech during the World Gas Conference in Paris. Chevron chief executive John Watson plans to step down as the petroleum industry prepares for a period of lower oil prices, the Wall Street Journal reported on August 22, 2017. A transition would be announced next month. The leading front-runner to replace Watson is executive vice president Mike Wirth, but the plan has not been finalized and could still change, said the newspaper, citing unnamed sources. (AFP PHOTO / ERIC PIERMONT | Manila Bulletin)

This file photo taken on June 2, 2015 shows Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson as he addresses a keynote speech during the World Gas Conference in Paris. (AFP PHOTO / ERIC PIERMONT | Manila Bulletin)

A Chevron spokesman said he could not comment on the report.

If appointed, Wirth would be the latest head of a large oil company with extensive refining industry experience. That profile is expected to become more important in a period of lower oil prices that will constrain spending.

Appointed chief executive in 2010, Watson oversaw a number of massive development projects in far-flung corners of the world that accounted for a big jump in capital spending.

However, Chevron, like other oil companies slashed its capital budget following a two-year slump in oil prices due to oversupply. Chevron originally announced a 2017 capital budget of $19.8 billion, down 42 percent from 2015.

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