MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) – French energy giant Total, following sudden death of chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie, will hold an emergency board meeting Wednesday morning to select a new chief executive, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Aside from picking a new chief, the board will also separate the roles of chairman and chief executive, sources familiar with the situation told the news outlet.
The top contenders for the chief executive position are Patrick Pouyanne, executive vice president of Total and president of the refining and chemicals division, and Philippe Boisseau, the head of the marketing and new energy division, the sources said.
Thierry Desmarest, who served as the chairman of the board of directors of Total from 2007 until 2010, will be asked to resume the post. It is an interim solution as he will turn 70 in December 2015, the company's age limit for its board members.
De Margerie was on board of a business jet departing for Paris when it crashed late Monday night in Moscow's Vnukovo-3 Airport after hitting a snowplow during takeoff. None of the four people on board – de Margerie and three crew members – survived in the crash.
Russia's Investigative Committee is considering two main theories as to the cause of the crash – a traffic control mistake and the actions of the snowplow driver. The investigators are also checking if the plane could have crashed due to bad weather conditions or a mistake by the pilot.
De Margerie was born in 1951. He joined Total in 1974 after graduating from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Paris. He served in several positions in the Finance Department and the Exploration & Production division. In May 2006, he was appointed to the company’s board of directors. He became chief executive of Total on February 14, 2007. Since May 2010, he served as chairman of the company.