TNK-BP names new chief executive officer

Eric Watkins
OGJ Oil Diplomacy Editor

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19 -- BP PLC and its Russian partners in TNK-BP have named Maxim Barsky as the new chief executive officer for the joint venture, but have delayed his appointment until 2011 so he can gain more experience.

Currently TNK-BP’s executive vice-president for strategy and business development, Barsky will become the firm’s chief executive effective Jan. 1, 2011, according to BP and the Russian shareholders.

"I am pleased that the shareholders of TNK-BP have agreed this plan," said BP Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward. "We are all agreed that Maxim Barsky has the capabilities to lead the company into its next phase of development, and confident that the further experience he gains in the coming year will fully equip him for the task of CEO."

TNK-BP said that Barsky will spend the first 5 months of 2010 working in various upstream businesses at BP and BP's head office in London before returning to TNK-BP in June to take up a senior executive role.

The firm’s former chief executive officer, Robert Dudley, stepped down in December, following months of wrangling between the company's shareholders—BP and Alfa Access-Renova (AAR)—over control of the company.

AAR had accused Dudley of malpractice and of favoring BP (OGJ, Aug. 18, 2008, p. 33). In September 2008, the shareholders signed a memorandum of understanding to reorganize management and dismiss Dudley (OGJ Online, Dec 8, 2009).

When Dudley stepped down, Tim Summers, formerly the firm's chief operating officer, became acting chief executive officer. Fridman, ranked Russia's fourth-richest businessman by Forbes, was appointed interim chief executive officer in May.

Barsky's rival for the position was Pavel Skitovich, a former executive at Polyus Gold and currently TNK-BP's executive vice-president responsible for planning and performance management. Barsky and Skitovich were appointed in May with the intention of picking one as chief executive.

TNK-BP is jointly owned 50% by BP and 50% by AAR, a group of Russian billionaires who include Fridman and Viktor Vekselberg.

Contact Eric Watkins at hippalus@yahoo.com.

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