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Devon Energy CEO John Richels. Image courtesy of Bloomberg/Youtube.

Devon Energy CEO John Richels announced Wednesday that he will retire after 17 years with the company but will stay on as vice chairman of the board.

Devon COO Dave Hager, 58, will succeed Richels as president and CEO.

Richels will step down on July 31, 2015.

The company’s board elected Richels, 63, to replace current board vice chairman Larry Nichols.

Richels will take over for Nichols, 72, when he retires from his position in 2016 and becomes chairman emeritus.

Before joining Devon, Richels served as CFO of Calgary-based Northstar Energy.

He joined Devon in 1998 and led Devon Canada, Devon’s Canadian subsidiary, until being elected president of Devon in 2004.

In 2007, Richels joined Devon’s board of directors and was elected CEO in 2010.

Hager has been with Oklahoma-based Devon since 2009, when he was named executive vice president of exploration and production.

From 2007 until joining the company, Hager served as a member of Devon’s board of directors.

He has 35 years of experience in the oil and gas industry, having started his career in 1979 as a geophysicist with Mobil Corporation.