By Benjamin Chiou
Date: Monday 28 May 2012
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Russia's third-largest oil producer, TNK-BP, resigned on Monday, with sources citing a breakdown in the relationship between BP and its joint venture partner, AAR.
In a short statement, TNK-BP said that Mikhail Fridman has resigned from the group and his departure will take effect in 30 days' time.
Alfa-Access-Renova, otherwise known as AAR, is a consortium of Russian investors which owns 50% in TNK-BP, the oil giant set up in 2003 between itself and British firm BP.
However, over its near 10-year history, tensions have arisen between the two sides, notably when the Russian partners blocked BP's proposed tie-up with Rosneft in 2011.
Fridman's resignation "represents a further breakdown in the relationship between TNK-BP's shareholders," one source close to AAR was reported to have said on Monday, adding that AAR has lost trust in the British firm.
People close with the company said that Fridman's move could be a possible attempt to distance himself from TNK-BP in anticipation of a new round of conflict, according to the Wall Street Journal.
After having initially started the day strongly, shares in 50% owner BP slipped into the red by the afternoon, trading 1.68% lower at 400.5p by 15:49.
TNK-BP will be subsequently managed by a group of executives who hold powers of attorney related to their areas of responsibility.
"AAR shareholders German Khan and Victor Vekselberg remain with the business as Executive Directors and members of the management board," the statement said.
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