Noble Corp. Plc (NYSE: NE) said Jan. 11 Chairman, President and CEO David W. Williams will retire from the London-based offshore drilling company.

Julie J. Robertson

Julie J. Robertson, the company's executive vice president, has been elected by the Noble board of directors to succeed Williams, according to the company press release. As part of the leadership succession plan, Williams will remain with Noble through February, serving in an advisory capacity.

In her current role that she has held since 2006, Robertson has had direct oversight for human resources, procurement and supply chain, learning and development, health, safety environmental functions and information technology. She has been with Noble since 1979, according to the company website.

"Julie's record of contribution to the company in many capacities over more than 38 years of service and her thorough understanding of the offshore drilling industry combine to create an exceptional foundation for strong leadership," Williams said in a statement. "Her comprehensive skill set, along with the excellent management team already in place, should drive further achievements and fortify Noble's outstanding industry position. It has been an honor to lead Noble over the past 10 years and I am confident this will be a seamless leadership transition that will gain solid support among our employees, customers and shareholders."

During the 10 years of Williams' leadership he successfully guided Noble through periods of extreme volatility, the company release said. He also initiated and executed the substantial newbuild program that has positioned Noble as one of the leading high-specification drilling companies in the industry.

Gordon T. Hall, Noble's lead independent director, said in a statement, "David has been the driving force behind Noble's transformation into a high-specification drilling company. He was a steady and highly visible leader through the worst industry recession in more than 30 years. David assembled a talented management team and leaves Noble in good hands and well-positioned for continued success. He has served the company well during his distinguished tenure and the board thanks him for his leadership and for the legacy he leaves behind."

From July 2001, Robertson served as senior vice president of administration and has served continuously as corporate secretary since December 1993. Throughout her tenure she has played an important role in the company's leadership and in September 2017 was named to the company's board.

"I am thankful for the opportunity to have worked with David and am grateful for my election as the next chairman, president, and CEO of Noble," Robertson said in a statement. "I am honored to lead our talented and dedicated workforce and in helping them deliver the high-quality, safe and efficient services our clients have come to expect from us. Noble is in an advantageous position as we enter the next phase of the industry cycle with high-specification assets, a substantial backlog, strong customer relationships and world-class employees. As a team, we will continue to build on our established record of client-focused operational excellence."