- CEO of oil giant Total dies in Russia plane crash -
French oil company Total SA said Chairman and Chief Executive Christophe de Margerie died Monday in a plane crash at a Russian airport.
The French executive, who enjoyed close relations with numerous world leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, was 63 years old.
Mr. de Margerie and the three crew members on board were killed when their Falcon 50 business jet gathered speed to take off at Moscow’s Vnukovo airport amid low visibility, and ran into a snow-removal truck maneuvering on the runway, according to airport authorities.
A Total TOT, +1.41% FP, +2.56% spokeswoman said Mr. de Margerie was in Moscow to attend a gathering of the Russian government’s foreign investment advisory council.
Mr. de Margerie’s sudden death opens a period of uncertainty at Total, one of France’s largest companies, which had no obvious succession plan in place. In May, Total shareholders had approved a resolution increasing the age cap for its CEO to 67 from 65, potentially allowing Mr. de Margerie to remain at the oil company through 2018.
A bon vivant who confessed to enjoying reality shows, the blue-blooded Mr. de Margerie devoted his life to the oil industry, following a simple motto: “Go where the oil is.”