THE HAGUE, Netherlands -

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is appointing its downstream director Ben van Beurden to replace Peter Voser as CEO when Voser retires next year.

Van Beurden's promotion marks a return to a Dutchman leading the Netherlands-British multinational after the tenure of Voser, who is Swiss.

Shell chairman Jorma Ollila says 55-year-old Van Beurden "has deep knowledge of the industry and proven executive experience across a range of Shell businesses."

Van Beurden has worked for Shell's upstream and downstream businesses in Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States.

In January 2005, van Beurden became Vice President, Manufacturing Excellence, based in Houston. In this role he was responsible for standards in operational excellence and high-performance initiatives in refining and chemicals manufacturing.

Shell announced Tuesday van Beurden will take over from Voser on Jan. 1, 2014. Voser will retire at the end of March 2014 after 29 years with the company.