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Chevron CEO Watson to step down: report

© AFP/File | Chevron Chairman and CEO John Watson, pictured in 2015, oversaw a number of massive development projects in far-flung corners of the world that accounted for a big jump in capital spending

NEW YORK (AFP) - 

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.

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.

© 2017 AFP