Total’s CEO dies in Moscow plane crash

Christophe de Margerie, the chief executive of French oil company Total, has died in an air crash in Moscow.

Airport spokeswoman Elena Krylova said: “Tonight, a plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine. Three crew members and a passenger died.”

“I can confirm that the passenger was Total’s head de Margerie,” she said.

Mr de Margerie had been chief executive of Europe’s third largest oil company since 2007.

The company has confirmed his death.

Russia’s emergencies ministry said in a statement that the accident had involved a Falcon-50 plane shortly before midnight Moscow time (20:00 GMT) on Monday.

The jet had been due to fly to Paris. The three crew members were all French.

‘Huge loss’

The 63-year-old executive was highly regarded within the oil industry. At Total, where he had spent his entire career, he was nicknamed “Big Moustache”.

He joined Total Group after graduating from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Paris in 1974.

John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil told the BBC: “It’s a huge loss to the industry and its future focus.

“What he has done for Total in repositioning the company to return to integrity and sound operations is deeply respected and highly regarded.”

During his time at the helm of Total Mr Margerie successfully defended the company against allegations of corruption around the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq.

He maintained the company’s investments in Burma and Iran despite US sanctions against those countries. This year he argued Europe should maintain its energy relationship with Russia amid the conflict in Ukraine.

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