Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) said April 15 that its chairman and CEO, Charles D. Davidson, will retire on May 1, 2015 and also leave the board of directors, the company said. Davidson will remain chairman until the 2015 annual meeting, the company said.

The company noted that it will recommend David L. Stover, the current president and COO, to be elected to the board of directors at its April 22 meeting. Noble Energy also noted that Stover may also be appointed as CEO in October.

Davidson has been CEO and on the board since joining the company in 2000, Noble Energy said.

"Noble Energy has an exciting future that has been created over many years by an incredibly deep and talented organization," said Davidson.

He continued, "I am announcing my plans to retire next year with full confidence that the team led by Dave Stover will successfully deliver our exceptionally strong growth plan over the coming years.”

Davidson added, “Dave has played a key role in Noble Energy's success in recent years, and has all the necessary skills to lead the company to even greater performance in the future. While it will be extremely difficult for me to leave my fellow employees at Noble Energy, I will leave knowing that the time is right and that the board has thoroughly planned for this leadership transition and succession."

Houston-based Noble Energy Inc. explores and produces oil and natural gas worldwide.