New personnel changes in Gazprom have completed the change of generations in the leadership of the monopoly. With the departure of the deputy chairman of the board Andrei Kruglov to the Ministry of Finance, not a single person left among those who came to Gazprom with Alexey Miller in 2001–2003 remained at this level. The new distribution of powers led to the creation of two centers of power in the person of deputy chairmen Oleg Aksyutin and Vitaly Markelov. The first is now responsible, in addition to strategic development, for the formation of a trillion investment program, the second is responsible for the entire production unit and the domestic gas market. Who will replace Mr Kruglov in the third key position is still unknown.
The reshuffle at Gazprom in the last month looks like a personnel revolution: three out of five deputy directors of the board and six of the fifteen members of the board left the company. And on April 1, the company announced that the functionality and the post of deputy chairman of the board Alexander Medvedev who left in February would be transferred to the head of Gazprom Export, Elena Burmistrova. It will also oversee gas supplies to neighboring countries, that is, negotiations to extend the gas transit contract with Ukraine. All the interlocutors of Kommersant in the industry agree that the appearance of a new face on the part of Gazprom will definitely not hurt negotiations.
The domestic gas market, hydrocarbon processing and energy, which Valery Golubev, who retired in February, was engaged in, were transferred to Vitaly Markelov. Now he will be responsible at Gazprom for the entire production unit.
At the same time, Oleg Aksyutin, who was already on the board of directors, became the deputy chairman of the board, under whom the formation of the investment program and procurement control was transferred — an extremely important area that was previously directly supervised by the office of the head of Gazprom Alexey Miller.
However, the entire new structure has not yet been formed, since at the same time it was announced that the permanent curator of the financial unit, Andrei Kruglov, who has been working for Gazprom since 2002, resigned.
Mr. Kruglov goes to the Ministry of Finance, where, according to “Kommersant”, he will take the post of Deputy Finance Minister, released after Leonid Gornin’s transition to the position of First Deputy Minister in May 2018. The function of Andrei Kruglov in the ministry is still unclear, this issue is now being discussed in the White House.
Who will take Mr. Kruglov’s place in Gazprom is also unknown. The most logical successor is Alexander Ivannikov, head of the financial department, believes a Kommersant interlocutor at Gazprom. If that happens, the personnel reshuffle will not become a revolution in essence: all the vacancies will be filled by people from Gazprom itself and mostly with continuity.
In general, the redistribution of powers took place within the framework of the team of Alexey Miller and according to his plan, says Aleksei Grivach from the NESF:
When large shifts occur, there are always risks that they will send a "Varyag". In this case, this did not happen. "
As for Oleg Aksyutin, it is likely that the status of strategic planning has been improved following the results of his work as head of the department, Mr. Grivach believes.
Nevertheless, personnel changes can be considered a change of generations. Of the people who worked with Alexey Miller in the late 1990s in the St. Petersburg Mayor's Office, the St. Petersburg Sea Port and the Baltic Pipeline System, and then went to Gazprom, only the head of Mezhregiongaz remained in the board. Cyril Seleznev and four more people among 24 heads of departments. And for the saved positions, the permutations look like a bad signal.
So, for Mikhail Sirotkin, who is responsible for corporate purchases, the transition under the supervision of Oleg Aksyutin means, most likely, a reduction in the impact on the distribution of investment program funds of 1.4 trillion rubles. Another key member of the team of Alexey Miller, the head of his staff, Mikhail Sereda, also received nothing from personnel changes, and possibly lost, given the transfer of supervision over the investment program to the same Oleg Aksyutin. It is also important that Mr. Seleznev was not promoted to deputy chairman of the board after Valery Golubev left, although the internal gas market is its core functionality.
At the same time, not a single new person appeared in Gazprom, and the concentration of powers among the key deputy chairmen of the board became extremely high.
“This scheme looks like a temporary solution, which is aimed both at mobilizing efforts and concentrating them on key projects, as well as on not introducing new people into the leadership,” Kommersant’s source said.
The interlocutors of Kommersant in the industry continue to view personnel changes at Gazprom in the context of leaving Alexey Miller “in the foreseeable future”. The first half or middle of 2020 is traditionally called as a milestone when Gazprom should complete the construction of the Nord Stream-2 and Turkish Stream gas pipelines and agree on a scheme for working with Ukraine. From this point of view, the current permutations allow you to safely retire or develop a career elsewhere for members of the team of Alexey Miller, while maintaining the controllability of the monopoly. However, as long as they do not give an opportunity to even suggest who may be the successor to Mr. Miller, it appears that the candidate has not been selected yet.