Total SA announced Patrick Pouyanne as Christophe de Margerie's CEO successor following his death in a plane crash earlier this week.
Mr Pouyanne, currently the company’s refining chief and long-touted as a potential successor, was named CEO at a board meeting in Paris on Wednesday. Thierry Desmarest returns for a second stint as chairman of the board until the end of next year.
The new CEO will have to see through a round of cost cuts as lower oilprices and weak returns from refining eat into profit at France’s largest company by sales. Mr De Margerie, who was killed on Monday when his private jet struck a snowplow on a Moscow runway, had sold older fields and sought to pare investments in new projects as part of a pledge to investors last month to cut $2bn (approximately £1.2bn) in costs a year.
“Christophe de Margerie’s death comes at a delicate time for oil companies,” said Olivier Appert, head of IFP Energies Nouvelles research institute. “Oil prices are volatile and the challenges are numerous in many countries like Russia. European companies like Total are also facing downstream issues due to the downturn in refining.”
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