BP's Russia venture loses CEO in waiting

21st October 2011, Comments 0 comments

BP's Russian joint venture TNK-BP announced Friday the resignation of its chief executive in waiting following a turbulent spell that saw splits emerge over a failed deal with state-owned Rosneft.

TNK-BP said Deputy Chairman Maxim Barsky was leaving the company as of November 1 to pursue other career goals.

Neither the firm nor the executive himself explained the long-anticipated decision. Reports earlier suggested Barsky had failed to win the full trust of the company while completing an initial term.

"I'm grateful to TNK-BP for the unique opportunity to obtain new knowledge and skills through managing one of the world's leading private oil and gas companies," Barsky said in the company's statement.

Russia's number three oil producer has had a turbulent history since being formed in 2003 and most recently saw its Russian directors -- a group represented by the AAR holding -- fight BP over its failed Rosneft alliance.

Barsky's candidacy emerged after the firm's US-born chief executive Bob Dudley was expelled from Russia during another heated battle with AAR in 2008. He was initially appointed to the number two post with an eye for a promotion in January this year.

But Barsky was never named to the top post -- a position still held on an interim basis by Russian tycoon Mikhail Fridman -- and he threatened in recent interviews to resign if he was not promoted by the end of the year.

The Wall Street Journal reported in September that both BP and AAR executives had expressed concerns about Barsky's ability to lead the firm past the crisis caused by the failed Rosneft alliance.

The TNK-BP board is scheduled Monday to consider whether to join a lawsuit against BP for trying to strike the Rosneft deal without giving the joint venture the right to bid on it first.

Acting chief executive Fridman suggested the two were parting on good terms.

Fridman said the firm had turned into "an international oil and gas player" under Barsky's stewardship and was now eyeing new markets in Southeast Asia and Latin America.

"These accomplishments were made possible thanks to Maxim's focused efforts," Fridman said in the company statement.

© 2011 AFP

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