Russian energy czar Sechin takes helm at Rosneft

AP News
Posted: May 22, 2012 10:16 AM
Russian energy czar Sechin takes helm at Rosneft

Russia's energy czar Igor Sechin on Tuesday was named to lead the country's largest oil company, state-controlled Rosneft.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev made the announcement at a meeting with Sechin, part of which was televised.

Sechin, who until recently served as deputy prime minister, is considered the most influential man in Russia's energy industry. A close ally to President Vladimir Putin, he personally oversaw all major energy agreements in Russia including the multi-billion Arctic deals between Russia, ExxonMobil and Eni and Statoil. The oil industry has credited him for lobbying for privileges for their companies and projects.

Sechin replaces Eduard Khudainatov, who has served as the chief executive since September 2010. Khudainatov, who retains the post of the company's president, had been regarded as more of a technical figure reporting to Sechin.

Sechin worked both in the government and as Rosneft chairman from 2006 to 2011, when he had to step down, complying with the president's order to purge state-controlled companies of officials in top jobs.

He did not receive any job in the new Russian government which was formed on Monday, although analysts said he would likely retain his influence on the industry.

Shares in Rosneft, where the government owns slightly more than 75 percent, surged 2.6 percent on the news, outperforming the market. Immediately after the announcement, Rosneft shares were up almost 4 percent.