[Editor's note: This story was updated at 11:40 a.m. CST Feb. 11.]

Schlumberger Ltd. (NYSE: SLB) said Feb. 8 that Olivier Le Peuch has been picked to be the oilfield services giant’s next COO, effective immediately.

Olivier Le Peuch was appointed on Feb. 8 as COO by the Schlumberger board, effective immediately. (Source: Schlumberger Ltd.)
Olivier Le Peuch was
appointed on Feb. 8 as COO
by the Schlumberger board,
effective immediately.
(Source: Schlumberger Ltd.)

Previously, Le Peuch was executive vice president of reservoir and infrastructure, where he was responsible for the management of the Cameron product lines, including OneSubsea as well as some of Schlumberger’s leading technology products lines such as software integrated solutions and Schlumberger land rigs.

The appointment could mark the formal beginning of CEO succession, said Brad Handler, an equity analyst with Jefferies LLC, in a research note on Feb. 8.

Handler noted the succession process comes earlier than expected given Schlumberger CEO Paal Kibsgaard’s age and the recent downturn.

Kibsgaard, 51, assumed the CEO role in 2011, succeeding Andrew Gould. He joined Schlumberger in 1997 as a reservoir engineer in Saudi Arabia.

If history is a guide, Handler said Le Peuch would be COO for roughly two years before the succession to CEO takes place with Kibsgaard retaining the chairman role.

“Paal’s legacy presumably will be shaped as his integration and transformation initiatives face a more normalized landscape,” he said. “Olivier’s background is steeped in technology, which may point to a [Schlumberger] emphasis tilt back toward more traditional technology roots.”

An electrical engineer with a master’s degree in microelectronics from the Bordeaux University of Science, Le Peuch began his career at Schlumberger in 1987. He spent his early career in custom software integration and development, and in high-temperature electronics development for wireline equipment.

He eventually went on to hold a variety of global management positions, including president of the Cameron product lines, president of Schlumberger completions and vice president of engineering, manufacturing and sustaining. Earlier in his career, he was also geomarket manager for the North Sea and president of Software Integrated Solutions.

Reporting to Kibsgaard, Le Peuch will be responsible in his new role as COO for the day-to-day management of all worldwide operations.

Kibsgaard said in a statement: “Olivier’s track record, consisting of significant industry experience combined with technical and management roles within Schlumberger, gives me complete confidence in his ability to manage and grow all aspects of our operations. I look forward to working closely with Olivier.”

Reuters contributed to this article.