A veteran of the oil and gas and mining businesses who grew up in Kirkintilloch has been appointed to become the next head of Royal Dutch Shell.

Sir Andrew Mackenzie will become chairman of the Anglo Dutch oil giant in May, when Chad Holliday will stand down.

The appointment is the latest in a series of high-profile roles with major corporations for Sir Andrew, who developed an interest in geology as a youngster in Kirkintilloch in the days when coal mining helped power the local economy.

His interest was encouraged by the local miners’ welfare association, which awarded him prizes for science.

READ MORE: Renewable energy pioneer sees hidden potential in former coal mines

Since joining BP as a young man in 1982, Sir Andrew has followed a hugely successful career path, which culminated in him running mining giant BHP from 2013 to 2019.

Shell said Sir Andrew would bring an ideal mix of skills and experience to his work as leader of the board as the company looks to reinvent itself amid the global drive to cut damaging carbon emissions.

Chief executive Ben van Beurden has said Shell expects oil and gas to remain part of the energy mix for decades, with the UK North Sea to remain a core area. However, oil and gas will become a smaller part of Shell’s business as it shifts investment into areas such as renewables.

READ MORE: North Sea cash engine motoring as Shell cuts Aberdeen jobs

“Andrew brings a wealth of leadership and sustainability experience, scientific curiosity and commercial acumen that ideally equip him to help Shell navigate the energy transition,” said Mr Holliday, who has been chairman since 2015.

Describing Shell as a great company, Sir Andrew said it was a privilege to be appointed its chairman at a pivotal time for the industry and wider society.

He added: “I believe Shell has an exceptional portfolio of future-facing assets and I look forward to working with Ben van Beurden and the Board to profitably accelerate Shell’s transition into a net-zero emissions energy business that continues to generate substantial value for shareholders, customers and communities alike.”

Shell did not give details of the remuneration Sir Andrew will receive as chairman.

The group’s annual report, which was published yesterday, shows that Mr Holliday earned €919,000 (£780,000) last year.

Mr van Beurden saw his total remuneration fall to £5.2m, from £8.7m in 2019, after the company decided not to pay bonuses to executive directors given the challenges faced by the business.

READ MORE: Scots energy giant's cut-price exit from North Sea bodes ill for area

Shell posted a £16 billion loss for 2020 that reflected the fallout from the coronavirus crisis. This sent demand for oil plunging.

Sir Andrew received €37,000 remuneration from Shell last year after joining its board as a non-executive director in October. He was awarded a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list that month for services to business, science, technology and UK-Australia relations.

BHP’s headquarters are in Melbourne. The group has extensive operations in Australia, where it mines for metals such as copper as well as coal. It is also active in the Americas and China.

Sir Andrew rationalised the group’s operations during his time in charge. BHP sold its US shale assets to BP in 2018, for $10.5bn.

READ MORE: North Sea management shake-up at Shell

In 2014 Sir Andrew told The Australian that his childhood experiences had left him with a belief in togetherness and that we are all on one team. He recalled sitting reading comics in his dad’s car while his father, who was a GP, paid calls to patients in deprived areas of Glasgow.

“I am sure that comes from some of my upbringing and my Scottish roots, and the attitudes of parents who were extremely good, I think, at being friends with anybody, independent of any perceived or otherwise station in life,” Sir Andrew told the paper.

He has a degree in geology from St Andrews university and a PhD in organic chemistry from Bristol university and speaks five languages.