Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Russian tycoon unexpectedly quits as CEO of TNK-BP

(AP) ? Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman on Monday unexpectedly announced his resignation as chief executive of TNK-BP, the Russian venture of British oil company BP.

TNK-BP said in a statement that Fridman has submitted a letter of resignation as CEO and chairman of the management board and is due to step down in 30 days. It did not specify the reason, but BP's representative in Russia, Vladimir Buyanov, said Fridman left the compnay for "personal reasons."

Fridman is considered one of the most influential people in the venture, which he was to head throughout 2013.

TNK-BP, which is owned in equal parts by BP and a group of Russian billionaire shareholders known as AAR, has been plagued by shareholder conflicts much of the time since it was formed in 2003.

The company said it will be run by "a group of executives who hold powers of attorney related to their areas of responsibility" before a replacement is found for Fridman. BP sought to play down the importance of Fridman's resignation, saying he was not involved in running the company on a day-to-day basis.

BP has pledged to work with AAR to appoint a replacement "as soon as reasonably possible," said Buyanov.

AAR was not immediately available for comment.

A multi-billion deal with Russian state-owned firm Rosneft to tap for oil in the Artic broke down last year after AAR blocked it, claiming BP should be pursuing such a deal through TNK-BP.

TNK-BP's shares on Moscow's MICEX stock exchange dipped immediately after the announcement but recovered half an hour afterward to hover 1 percent higher than Friday's close, in line with the market.

Associated Press

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