BP's Russia Venture Puts Trust In Local Businessman

October 24, 2011
BP's Russian joint venture TNK-BP on Friday agreed to keep businessman Mikhail Fridman as its chief executive for another two years despite boardroom splits over a failed deal with state-owned Rosneft.

The announcement ends a year-long struggle by the young Deputy Chairman Maxim Barsky to assume command of Russia's number three oil producer and hands local billionaires operational control of the half-British firm.

But it also highlights a degree of trust that still runs between BP and the original Soviet-born founders of the Russian half of the joint venture despite their disagreements over recent deals and future strategy.

"We welcome this agreement," said BP Russia President Jeremy Huck.

"We look forward to many more years of growth for the benefit of Russia and TNK-BP's shareholders."

The appointment was also hailed by AAR -- a consortium formed by Fridman and three other billionaires who joined forces with BP in 2003 when the British giant was first trying to break into the world's largest energy market.

"We are very pleased to announce the strengthening of TNK-BP's management team by injecting fresh talent into the organisation, while at the same time maintaining stability at the CEO level," AAR CEO Stan Polovets said.

The announcement was preceded only a few hours by the formal resignation of the joint venture's 37-year-old CEO in waiting, Barsky.

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