Longtime Lukoil head quits
The long-serving president of Russia's second-biggest oil producer Lukoil has resigned, the company reported on April 21, without disclosing a reason for his departure.
Vagit Alekperov, estimated by Forbes to have a personal wealth of $25bn last year, has been at Lukoil's helm since the company's privatisation in 1993, when its business comprised only a cluster of fields in Russia's oil-producing heartland of Khanty-Mansiysk. Today it has upstream operations across most of Russia's producing basins, as well as refineries and a fuel distribution business. It also has upstream projects in the Middle East, Central Asia, West Africa, Europe and Central America.
Lukoil did not say who would be replacing Alekperov. The Azeri-Russian businessman said in 2018 he was looking for a successor to fill his position, and that a staff reshuffle could take place in 2023. His departure follows a collapse in Lukoil's share price over the recent months, from $67bn before Moscow began its invasion of Ukraine in late February to just $36bn. The move also comes after the UK slapped sanctions on Alekperov last week. He has been on the US sanctions blacklist since 2014.
Alekperov has long advocated for greater liberalisation of Russia's oil and gas industry, which at times has led to him locking horns with Igor Sechin, the powerful CEO of state oil giant Rosneft. Over the last two decades, the sector has become increasingly consolidated under the control of Rosneft and Gazprom, although Lukoil has held its own as the country's biggest privately-owned producer.
Lukoil is the only major Russian oil and gas producer to have publicly called for the war in Ukraine to end, although it stopped short of attributing any blame to Russia for the conflict.