The business on...Maxim Barsky, Deputy Chairman, TNK-BP


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The Independent Online

Who he?

Deputy chairman of TNK-BP, the oil joint venture between BP and a consortium of oligarchs in Russia. Well, he was anyway.

What happened?

He quit yesterday. After a summer of griping that he would walk away if he wasn't handed the top job, he has been as good as his word.

Bit presumptuous?

To give him his due, he was promised the chairmanship. He joined the board in June 2010 and was told he would take the reins in January. Ten months on he, er, hasn't.

What was the problem?

Issues include the deterioration of BP's relationship with Alfa Access Renova, the other half of the venture. It also seems the interim chairman, the oligarch Mikhail Fridman, was not overly keen to step aside. He will now stay until the end of 2013. The deputy role has been abolished.

So did he flounce out?

While he was clearly unhappy about his lot, Mr Barsky had only kind words to say yesterday as he expressed his gratitude to the group and praised its "strong leadership".

Come again?

Well, local reports that he's in line for a multimillion-dollar payout may have eased the pain of missing out on the top job.

So harmony reigns?

In a word: no. Ever since Robert Dudley was forced out in 2008, relations have been frosty. This year things got worse.

How so?

BP tried to secure a deal with the rival Russian group Rosneft, which prompted its oligarch partners to become rather heated. They subsequently derailed the deal.

So what now?

BP faces a lawsuit from small investors in TNK-BP over the Rosneft deal. Worse, the TNK-BP's board said it is considering joining the action. Maybe Mr Barsky is best out of it.