© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Exxon Mobil Corporation is shown on a monitor above the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, December 30, 2015. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/File Photo
By Sabrina Valle and Ben Klayman
HOUSTON (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:). on Tuesday appointed Dan Ammann, former president of automaker General Motors (NYSE:), to lead the oil company’s energy transition business effective May 1.
The appointment signals a shift in Exxon to hire outsiders for senior roles after activist investors won three seats last year on the U.S. producer’s board. Exxon last year hired Kathryn Mikells from drinks maker Diageo (LON:) Plc as its finance chief.
Ammann replaces Joe Blommaert as chief of its Low Carbon Solutions unit, Exxon said on Tuesday. Blommaert will retire after 35 years at the oil producer.
In December, Ammann abruptly left the Detroit automaker where he was chief executive of its self-driving car subsidiary Cruise. Prior to running Cruise, Ammann served as the Detroit company’s president and chief financial officer, and was a Wall Street banker with Morgan Stanley (NYSE:) before that.
People familiar with the matter said he was dismissed after disagreeing with GM over when to take Cruise public. GM Chief Executive Mary Barra has downplayed the need for a quick Cruise public offering, and the carmaker has repeatedly stressed the importance of that business to its overall operations.
Ammann could not immediately be reached to comment.
He joined GM as treasurer in 2010 and helped lead the company’s initial public offering following its 2009 restructuring.
At Exxon, he will lead its energy transition business, which oversees efforts to generate new revenue from carbon sequestration technologies and hydrogen production. Exxon put the unit on the same footing as its other operations as part of restructuring disclosed in January.
“We welcome Dan to ExxonMobil and will use his knowledge and experience to continue to build our Low Carbon Solutions business,” said Exxon Chief Executive Darren Woods.
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