Using the upper echelons perspective together with corporate governance and strategic renewal literature, this paper investigates how top managersâ€™ corporate governance orientation influences a firmâ€™s strategic renewal trajectories over time. Through both a qualitative analysis (1907-2004) and a quantitative analysis (1959-2004), we investigate this under-researched question within the context of a large incumbent firm: Royal Dutch Shell plc. Our results indicate that top managers having an Anglo-Saxon corporate governance orientation are more likely to pursue exploitative and external-growth strategic renewal trajectories, while those having a Rhine corporate governance orientation are more likely to pursue exploratory and internal-growth strategic renewal trajectories. We also found a positive moderating effect of the proportion of shareholders from the Anglo-Saxon countries on exploitative and external-growth strategic renewal trajectories. Our findings indicate that top managersâ€™ corporate governance orientation can be an important antecedent of strategic renewal and of organisational ambidexterity, both of which influence corporate longevity.