Maxim Barsky will become the new chief of TNK-BP, sources close to the company said Friday, after co-owner BP agreed to the preferred candidate of its four Russian partners.
The appointment follows a long-running dispute between BP and the quartet of Russia-connected tycoons over strategy and control. Tensions at the 50-50 venture have subsided recently and analysts have said agreement over Barsky, first proposed by the billionaires, indicates a return to shareholder cooperation after BP agreed to concede some management control.
“The documents [for Barsky] are being finalized. … The proposal came from both groups of shareholders,” said one source close to TNK-BP, who asked not to be identified because he was not allowed to comment on the issue.
Barsky “accepted the invitation, and it is assumed that everything will be finalized before the New Year and he will begin his duties from 2010,” a second source close to the company said, following a TNK-BP board meeting Friday.
TNK-BP spokeswoman Marina Dracheva said the board meeting was informal and although it discussed CEO candidates in a “very constructive way,” the final decision would be made only at the next formal board meeting.
TNK-BP has been run since May by interim CEO Mikhail Fridman, one of the four billionaires. When he was appointed, TNK-BP said it hoped to select a new CEO by the end of the year and hired two young executives to vie for the role.
BP said it wanted Pavel Skitovich, who ranfor five months in 2007 and worked as a Soviet diplomat in Uganda early in his career.
The Russian partners in the AAR consortium proposed Barsky, a 35-year-old former head of smaller oil firm West Siberian Resources. Sources close to TNK-BP said Friday that it was not clear what role Skitovich would play in the company.