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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

TNK-BP financial director quits due to shareholder row

MOSCOW, August 4 (RIA Novosti) - TNK-BP Chief Financial Officer James Owen has resigned amid an ongoing shareholder dispute, the Russian-British oil company said Monday. "Mr. Owen's letter states that as the current shareholder issues remain unresolved he feels it is difficult for him to continue working independently, as his role demands," TNK-BP said in a statement. Owen announced his resignation Monday in a letter to CEO Robert Dudley and the joint venture's board of directors, the company said, adding Owen's resignation would be effective in late August. BP and its Russian billionaire partners, each holding 50% of TNK-BP, have been battling over management and strategy at the joint venture, which is Russia's third largest oil producer and accounts for a quarter of BP's overall output. Dudley, who left Russia on July 24 citing a campaign of harassment by the Russian investors, said he regretted Owen's resignation. "Along with many others in TNK-BP, I greatly regret that we are losing Jim," Dudley said in the statement. "Our company's financial standing and internal governance processes have been greatly strengthened under his management and he will be very hard to replace." Dudley, who has been unable to have his Russian visa renewed, is running TNK-BP from abroad. His whereabouts have not been disclosed. The four Russian billionaire shareholders have sought Dudley's dismissal, accusing him of acting only in BP's interests. The British oil major said the Russian investors want to seize control of the company.

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