Christophe de Margerie dead: Total 'to appoint new chief executive' in emergency board meeting

Total expected to separate roles of chairman and CEO

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The Independent Online

The board of oil company Total could appoint a new chief executive as soon as today after Christophe de Margerie died in a tragic accident at a Moscow airport on Monday night.

The French company is expected to split the chairman and CEO roles, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person familiar with the matter, and discuss the future of Total amid falling oil prices in an emergency meeting.

Some of the names being considered to take the helm include Patrick Pouyanné, the head of refining and chemicals division, and Philippe Boisseau, who runs marketing and new energy operations. Thierry Desmarest will be asked to serve as chairman on an interim basis, the Journal reported.

Mr de Margerie was killed in a collision between his private jet and snow plough driver as the aircraft was about to take-off from Vnukovo international airport in Moscow on Monday night.


An investigation has been launched into alleged breaches of aviation safety causing multiple deaths through negligence, and the plane’s black boxes have been removed for examination.

Russia's Investigative Committee initially said the driver was drunk when the accident took place and a Moscow court is expected to rule whether he can be formally arrested. His lawyer has denied he was under the influence of alcohol.

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Hours before the collision, Mr de Margerie, 63, had met Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev at his home in the suburbs of Moscow to discuss foreign investment in the country.