(Corrects spelling of Hager throughout)
HOUSTON, Dec 3 (Reuters) - John Richels, the chief executive officer of Devon Energy Corp, will step down at the end of July and the Oklahoma oil and gas company's board plans to name Chief Operating Officer Dave Hager as his replacement, the company said on Wednesday.
Richels, 63, was also elected vice chairman of the board effective immediately. He is expected to replace co-founder Larry Nichols as executive chairman when he retires in 2016, the company said.
Richels, who joined Devon in 1998 and was named CEO in 2010, presided over the company's recent repositioning to drill more shale oil wells in places like the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford formation in Texas.
Since 2013, Devon transferred pipeline and processing assets to publicly traded partnership Enlink Midstream Partners , and also paid $6 billion to acquire privately held GeoSouthern's Eagle Ford acreage in south Texas.
"With our recent portfolio transformation, Devon is in an extremely strong position," Richels said in a statement. "We have a great collection of assets and a terrific management team in place to lead the business."
Hager, 58, has been with Devon since 2009 when he was head of exploration and production.
Shares of Devon were flat in after hours trading at $60.93. The stock closed on the New York Stock Exchange at $60.92. (Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston; Editing by Alan Crosby)