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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

BP Nominates Skitovich for TNK Head

26 May 2009 - Reuters - BP said Monday that it had nominated Pavel Skitovich for the post of chief executive at TNK-BP, in a move it hopes will mark the end of a shareholder conflict at the oil producer. Skitovich, a former Soviet vice consul in Uganda, served as chief executive of gold miner Polyus for five months in 2007 and has worked for the Interros group of billionaire Vladimir Potanin. "As far as we are concerned, the search for a new CEO is over. We have formally nominated a very strong candidate, and we hope that the approval process will be completed in due course," BP spokesman Toby Odone said. BP and the quartet of Russia-connected billionaires who share control of TNK-BP fell out publicly last year in a dispute that spooked foreign investors and led to the departure of many expatriate staff, including then-chief executive Robert Dudley. Though both sides say they have resolved their differences, a permanent chief executive has yet to be appointed. Tim Summers, the former chief operating officer now serving as CEO, has said his contract expires on June 1. BP retains the right to nominate a chief executive for TNK-BP, but the Russia-connected shareholders have insisted that the candidate be a Russian speaker with experience in the country. An industry source, who declined to be named, said BP could agree to the appointment of a new interim chief executive should the appointment of Skitovich not be approved prior to the expiry of Summers' contract. One possible candidate, the source said, is businessman Viktor Vekselberg, who controls 12.5 percent of TNK-BP and is one of the four partners. Vedomosti reported on Monday that shareholders had reached a preliminary agreement on Vekselberg's taking this role, citing an unnamed businessman familiar with the management of BP.

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