Russia’s Rosneft names Qatari as supervisory board chief
Russian energy giant Rosneft said Thursday it has appointed a top manager from Qatar Energy as its new supervisory board chief after Germany’s former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder quit the post following a row over his ties to Vladimir Putin.
Rosneft said that Taieb Belmahdi, a former senior manager with Qatar Energy, would now become its board chairman.
Belmahdi had “45 years of experience in key energy firms in the Middle East,” it said in a statement.
Two others Qataris, Faisal Alsuwaidi and Hamad Rachid Al-Mohannadi, representing the Qatar Investment Authority, also joined the board, the energy giant said.
Russia’s military operation in Ukraine had led to huge public pressure in Germany for Schroeder to turn his back on Putin and to sever his ties with Russia’s biggest energy companies.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who like Schroeder is from the Social Democratic Party, had repeatedly and publicly urged the former leader to give up his Russian jobs.
The German parliament decided to strip him of perks, including an office and paid staff accorded to him as a former chancellor.
And EU lawmakers had separately called in a non-binding resolution for sanctions to be slapped on him if he refused to give up on lucrative board seats at Russian companies.
Schroeder, 78, had been due to join the supervisory board of another energy giant, Gazprom, in June.
While Schroeder, Germany’s chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as unjustified, he has said that dialogue must continue with Moscow.
Gazprom is behind the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, which has been halted by Scholz in one of the West’s first responses to the war in Ukraine.
Schroeder himself signed off on the first Nord Stream in his final weeks in office.
Former Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl, who gained notoriety when Putin danced at her wedding in 2018, also stepped down from the Rosneft board in May.