Royal Dutch Shell Plc (NYSE: RDS.A) has appointed Wael Sawan to head its oil and gas production division, replacing Andy Brown who will step down after 35 years at the Anglo-Dutch company.

Wael Sawan has been appointed to head Shell’s oil and gas production division, replacing Andy Brown. (Source: Royal Dutch Shell Plc)

Sawan, 44, a Canadian citizen of Lebanese origin (pictured left), currently heads Shell's deepwater operations, one of the company's cash growth engines in recent years. He joined Shell in 1997.

Brown, 56, will remain a member of Shell's executive committee until his departure on Sept. 30, Shell said in a statement.

"I am grateful to Andy for his strong leadership of the upstream business, particularly having improved business performance during the recent years of low oil prices," CEO Ben van Beurden said in a statement.

Shell, the second largest publicly-traded oil company behind Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), produced nearly 3.6 million barrels per day of oil and gas equivalent in the third quarter of 2018.

Shell transformed its upstream operations following the $54 billion acquisition of smaller rival BG Group in 2016 that gave it a leading position in Brazil's rapidly growing deepwater production.

Since then Shell has sold many oil and gas assets in order to focus on the most competitive fields in areas such as the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.