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News > International
Chernomyrdin quits Gazprom
June 30, 2000: 8:41 a.m. ET

Ex-Prime Minister resigns as chairman, replaced by Medvedev
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LONDON (CNNfn) - Former Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin stepped down as chairman of Russia's gas monopoly RAO Gazprom on Friday, as shareholders at the company's annual general meeting elected a new board of directors.

The new chairman is Dmitry Medvedev, acting deputy head of Russia's presidential administration. Chief Executive Rem Vyakhirev was reelected to the 11-member board.

Gazprom sits on more than a quarter of the world's gas reserves and is the source of a quarter of Russia's federal taxes. The company is 38 percent owned by the government, which is intent on increasing its stake in the country's richest company.

Burckhard Bergmann, deputy head of German gas company Ruhrgas, joined the board, as did independent shareholder Boris Fyodorov, a former deputy prime minister. Ruhrgas owns 4 percent of Gazprom.

Five members of the new board represent the government. A further four represent the company, leaving Bergmann and Fyodorov as the independent voices.

Chernomyrdin was prime minister from 1992 to 1998 and head of Gazprom before that. Friday's shareholder meeting was the company's first since Vladimir Putin became president. Putin's strategy towards Gazprom remains unclear.

Putin met Gazprom chief executive Rem Vyakhirev recently, and an official account said they discussed preparations to ensure adequate gas supplies next winter. But the relationship remains clouded in mystery, with many observers skeptical that Putin would have the time or the need to discuss such routine matters with one of Russia's top businessmen in the early summer.

Putin's relations with Russia's top businessmen are under intense public scrutiny. Vladimir Gusinsky, head of media empire Media-Most, was arrested and held briefly in prison earlier this month. Gazprom announced Thursday that U.S. investment fund Capital Research & Management Co., a unit of Capital group, was interested in buying a $211 million debt that Media-Most owes to Gazprom.

Other companies coming under the Kremlin's scrutiny include the country's largest metals producer Norilsk Nickel. The prosecutor's office has bought a case against the company challenging its privatization.

"Nobody really knows what Putin wants to do with the oligarchs, of whom Vyakhirev is one," Stephen O'Sullivan, head of research at United Financial

Group (UFG), told Reuters. Back to top

--from staff and wire reports

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2018 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2018. All rights reserved. Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor's Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2018 and/or its affiliates.