Oil giant Total hires new general counsel as Peter Herbel prepares for retirement

The long-standing general counsel of French oil giant Total SA, Peter Herbel, is to retire in December with oilfield services heavyweight Maarten Scholten stepping into the role.

Herbel is standing down after nine years as senior vice president and general counsel of Total SA, parent company to Total, the fifth largest oil and gas group in the world. He joined the company in 1996 and will be replaced by Scholten on 1 January.

Scholten joins after a substantial career in the oilfield services industry. He currently sits on the board of directors at BW Offshore, a provider of floating production services to the oil and gas industry. This was after he spent 20 years in executive positions at Schlumberger – the largest oilfied services company in the world.

He will continue his work in high-profile energy with the move to Total next year. The company turned over €95.1bn in sales the first half of 2013 and generated a revenues of €200bn in 2012 – an increase of 8 per cent on the previous year.

Herbel came to the company from German firm Bruckhaus, now part of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and worked at consumer electronics company Thomson before moving to Total.

He is due to retire before the end of the year, when he will hand over the role which covers corporate governance and compliance policies for the energy giant.

Scholten started his career at Dutch firm Loeff & van der Ploeg, now part of Allen & Overy before moving to Schlumberger. At Schlumberger he was director of legal service, head of finance, president of Schlumberger Oilfield Services for Europe, Africa and CIS and director of mergers and acquisitions.

In 2006 he moved over to be co-founder and co-executive director of Delta Hydrocarbons SA, an oil and gas private equity business.