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Russia's Igor Sechin joins Pirelli board

Pirelli is known for its tyres and risque calendars

American sanctions and the country’s habit of imposing them around the world has not stopped the chairman of Russian oil giant Rosneft Igor Sechin picking up a directorship of Pirelli, famed for both its tyres and its risque calendars.

Mr Sechin - placed on the US sanctions list in April as a result of his close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin - was appointed to the board after the Russian energy giant bought a substantial indirect stake in the Italian company. 

He was added to the sanctions list, preventing American companies and citizens from doing business with him, in April in the wake of the deteriorating situation in the Ukraine. 

Mr Sechin has described the imposition on him as a “sad situation” saying that it didn’t “make any sense to me”. He made the comments in an interview with CNBC. 

Described as a Putin advisor, he was targeted by the US as part of an apparent attempt to send a message to the Russian President. However, he has yet to be placed on similar lists created by the UK or EU.


The effectiveness of the sanctions, and their effectiveness, has been hotly debated and because Rosneft itself has yet to be named oil companies such as BP and Exxon Mobil have been able to continuing dong business with the Russian part-state-owned business. 

In a statement Rosneft said it aimed to strengthen ties between the two companies saying that they were looking towards the “expansion of joint Russian and international projects”.

The appointment demonstrates the continued willingness of companies to do business with those deemed as being important to achieving their ambitions in Russia despite American pressure.

Six Italian directors have departed from Pirelli. In addition to Mr Sechin, their replacements include two other Rosneft directors as well as Ivan Glsenberg, the chief executive of the FTSE 100 listed commodity trading giant Glencore.