Total CEO dies in tragic accident

French oil giant Total has confirmed that Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie died in a plane crash.

Total says that on October 20 after 10pm (Paris time), a private plane collided with a snow removal machine at Vnukovo Airport in Moscow.

Four people were found dead at the scene of the accident, including three crew members and Christophe de Margerie, the statement by Total reads.

Total said: “The thoughts of the management and employees of the Group go out to Christophe de Margerie’s wife, children and loved ones as well as to the families of the three other victims.”

Christophe de Margerie joined the Group after graduating from the École Supérieure de Commerce in Paris in 1974. He served in several positions in the Group’s Finance Department and Exploration & Production division. He became President of Total Middle East in 1995 before joining the Group’s Executive Committee as the President of the Exploration & Production division in May 1999.

He then became Senior Executive Vice President of Exploration & Production of the new TotalFinaElf group in 2000. In January 2002 he became President of the Exploration & Production division of Total. He was appointed a member of the Board of Directors by the Shareholders’ Meeting held on May 12, 2006 and became Chief Executive Officer of Total on February 14, 2007. He was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total on May 21, 2010.

Update:

Total’s Chief Administrative Officer Jean-Jacques Guilbaud issued a statement regarding the event.

“This morning, Total’s employees learned with profound sorrow of the tragic death of Christophe de Margerie, their Chairman and CEO. Mr. de Margerie was killed when his jet collided with a snowplow as it was taking off, shortly after 10:00 p.m. CET at Vnukovo airport in Moscow. The jet’s three crew members also died in the accident. Our immediate thoughts go out to Mr. de Margerie’s wife, children and loved ones, as well as to the families of the three other victims.

“Total’s employees are deeply appreciative of the support and sympathy received, both in France and in the many countries where Christophe de Margerie was admired and respected. Mr. de Margerie devoted his life to building and promoting Total in France and internationally. He was equally devoted to Total’s 100,000 employees. As he would have wished, the company must continue to move forward. Total is organized to ensure the continuity of both its governance and its business, allowing it to manage the consequences of this tragic loss. The Governance and Ethics Committee (five members, chaired by Thierry Desmarest, Honorary Chairman and member of the Board of Directors of Total) will meet as soon as possible. This will be immediately followed by a meeting of the Board of Directors to make the necessary decisions.” 

Image: Remy Steinegger

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