The move would copy rival Exxon Mobil Corp, which earlier this year named refining expert Darren Woods as its own CEO, a step widely seen as prioritizing cash generation to protect payouts to shareholders above pricy exploration projects.
Former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, for example, bought natural gas producer XTO Energy during his tenure and rapidly expanded into Qatar's LNG sector.
Watson, who has five years remaining before he hits Chevron's mandatory retirement age of 65, stuck to projects already in the planning stages when he became CEO in January 2010, rather than coming up with new deal or expansion ideas.
"It would be hard to sit there and say that John Watson did a bad job as CEO," said Oliver Pursche of wealth manager Bruderman Brothers LLC, which holds shares in the company.
Watson, an economist by training, rose through the company's ranks, served as its chief financial officer, and earlier oversaw the integration of Texaco operations following the 2000 acquisition.
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