MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - On Wednesday, Total’s board of directors are expected to hold an emergency meeting to choose a new boss following the death of its chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie, who died in a plane crash at Moscow’s Vnukovo Airport on Monday.
The french oil giant will announce its plans for the future, as well as who will lead it on Wednesday, according to Jean-Jacques Guilbaud, the company’s secretary general. Total, which is one of the six "Supermajor" oil companies globally, will “ensure the proper continuity of its governance and its activities” while dealing with the tragic event, he said, as quoted by AFP.
As tradition demands, Total’s new boss is expected to be chosen among those working at the company. The obvious choice is Thierry Desmarest, the honorary chairman of the board of directors. He “may serve as the interim CEO due to his experience,” said François Pelegrina, spokesman of the French Democratic Confederation of Labor (CFDT) trade union. Desmarest has already served as the company’s CEO from 1995 until 2007 when he picked Christophe de Margerie to replace him.
Thierry Desmarest, 68, graduated from the prestigious Ecole Polytechnique engineering school and Ecole des Mines. He joined Total’s exploration and production division in 1981. Desmarest currently serves as the chairman of the board of directors. He assumed the post in 2010.
Other possible candidates include Patrick Pouyanné, president of refining and chemicals division, and Philippe Boisseau, head of Total’s supply and marketing division.
Like Thierry Desmarest, Patrick Pouyanné graduated from Ecole Polytechnique and Ecole des Mines in Paris, according to the company’s website. He joined Total in 1997 as chief administrative officer of Total E&P Angola. Two years later he was appointed to lead Total E&P Qatar. Member of Total’s management committee since 2006, he was appointed president of refining and chemicals division in January 2012. That year he also joined the company’s executive committee.
Philippe Boisseau, 52, graduated from Ecole Polytechnique engineering school. His area of expertise includes renewable energy, as well technical assistance. He joined Total Petroleum (North America) as crude oil supply manager in 1995. In February 2007, he was appointed president of Total Gas & Power Ltd. In 2014, he became head of Total’s supply and marketing division and member of the executive committee.
However, it is believed that Christophe de Margerie, often affectionately referred to as the Big Moustache, wanted to split his powers between chairman of the company and chief executive, claims French financial daily Les Echos. It speculates further that in such a case Thierry Desmarest could become Total’s chairman and Patrick Pouyanné would be appointed CEO.
Meanwhile, French experts have come to Russia to join the team investigating the accident. Earlier on Wednesday, it was reported that Russian investigators have begun to extract data from the plane’s black boxes.De Margerie's Falcon 50 business jet was departing for Paris late Monday night at Moscow’s Vnukovo-3 Airport when it crashed into a snowplow during takeoff. None of the four people on board, Total CEO Christophe de Margerie and three crew members, survived the crash.
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