(Adds details on CEO and his named successor, analyst comment, company background)
By Nia Williams
CALGARY, Alberta, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Imperial Oil Ltd's chief executive officer, Rich Kruger, will retire in December after being at the helm since 2013, the Canadian oil sands producer said on Tuesday.
The Calgary-based company, majority-owned by Exxon Mobil Corp, named Brad Corson as his successor. Corson, an Exxon veteran who joined the U.S. oil major in 1983, will assume the role of president immediately and become chairman and CEO after Kruger's departure.
Imperial is Canada's largest oil refiner and also one of its largest producers. During his time in charge Kruger oversaw the expansion of the Kearl and Aspen oil sands projects in northern Alberta and steered the company through the 2014-15 global oil price crash.
The company is also a shareholder in the Syncrude oil sands mining and upgrading project.
"He's leaving at a time when there's a line of sight to solid operations at Kearl and Syncrude after a number of years of operational and reliability issues," said Michael Dunn, an analyst at GMP FirstEnergy.
Corson, who comes from a chemical engineering background, has held a number of positions at Exxon including leadership roles in Hong Kong and London.
Imperial Oil shares were up 0.9% at C$36.64 on Tuesday afternoon on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
BMO Capital analyst Randy Ollenberger said Kruger's departure was not widely known but also not a surprise, and it was common for the CEO of Imperial to come from parent company Exxon. (Reporting by Nia Williams in Calgary Additional reporting by Shradha Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Matthew Lewis)