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BP could appoint the former head of Russia's metals giant Norilsk
BP could appoint the former head of Russia's metals giant Norilsk Nickel as the new chief executive of the Russian-British joint venture, TNK-BP, a business paper reported on Thursday.

Denis Morozov, who left the metals giant in July, is considered a frontrunner for the post and with no objections from shareholders a source close to a TNK-BP shareholder and its board of directors told Vedomosti that his appointment had practically been decided.

A decision could be made before a regular meeting of the TNK-BP board of directors planned for mid-December, Vedomosti said.

Representatives of TNK-BP, BP and the AAR consortium of Russian billionaire shareholders have declined to make any comment. However, a source close to the management told Vedomosti that Morozov is continuing to hold talks with TNK-BP.

The Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP was embroiled in a shareholder conflict earlier this year, in which BP and its Russian billionaire co-owners clashed over strategy, management and control of the third largest oil producer in Russia.

Robert Dudley, the current head of TNK-BP, left Russia in July amid what BP alleged was a harassment campaign orchestrated by authorities. The British and Russian partners came to terms in September. Under the deal agreed by the parties, Dudley will leave TNK-BP by December to be replaced by an executive from outside BP with extensive Russian experience.

The list of other candidates for the TNK-BP top post is short, however.

The U.K.'s Sunday Times reported on October 19 that other names on the list are thought to be Peter O'Brien, a former Morgan Stanley banker and vice-president of Rosneft, and Pyotr Galitsyn, head of the Russian unit of BASF, the chemicals group.

However, according to the British paper, Morozov, who has worked for around 10 years at Norilsk Nickel, is seen as the frontrunner as he is "a highly respected executive accustomed to running large, oligarch-controlled industrial groups."


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