Putin reappoints Gazprom CEO Miller
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Friday backed the reappointment of Alexei Miller as chief executive of the world's largest natural gas producer Gazprom.
Putin said he had instructed government representatives on the board of the state-held giant to vote for Miller's reappointment for another five-year term. His contract is due to expire later this year.
Asked -- during a visit to Bryansk, central Russia -- whether he had signed a letter recommending Miller's reappointment, Putin replied "that is the case."
Gazprom has recently come under strong criticism from Putin for reporting disappointing production and export figures that reflect Europe's growing dependence on shale gas and other alternatives to Russian imports.
Miller was appointed as head of Gazprom in 2001 with the mission of bringing stronger Kremlin control over a company that in the 1990s was known as a "state within a state" whose finances went largely unreported.
But the firm remains one of the world's most opaque energy companies and rumours of his imminent dismissal have hounded Miller throughout his Gazprom career.
© 2011 AFP