NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Royal Dutch Shell ( RDS.A) has announced that Ben van Beurden will take over from the retiring Peter Voser when he steps down as CEO next year. In a statement released early on Tuesday, Shell said that van Beurden, who was appointed the company's Downstream Director in January, will assume the CEO's role on Jan. 1, 2014. Voser will leave the oil and gas giant at the end of March next year, according to Shell, bringing an end to his 29 years with the company. In early May Shell announced that Voser, who was appointed CEO in July 2009, would retire in the first half of 2014. "Van Beurden's selection came after a comprehensive assessment and review of internal and external candidates led by the Board Nomination and Succession Committee," said Chairman Jorma Ollila, in the statement released on Tuesday. Van Beurden joined Shell in 1983, and has held both 'Upstream' and 'Downstream' roles during his time at the company. Upstream refers to oil and gas exploration and extraction, while Downstream refers to Shell's businesses that turn crude oil into refined products, which are then distributed and marketed around the world. "Ben has deep knowledge of the industry and proven executive experience across a range of Shell businesses," said Ollila, in the statement. "Ben will continue to drive and further develop the strategic agenda that we have set out, to generate competitive returns for our shareholders." Shell shares, which closed up 1.04% in Monday's trading, rose 0.77% to $64.37 before market open on Tuesday. --Written by James Rogers in New York. Follow @jamesjrogers >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.