Proved to be useful: why the ex-chancellor of Germany was invited to Rosneft

The ex-chancellor of Germany Gerhard Schroeder was invited to the board of directors of Rosneft as an independent director. He remains influential in the West and is known for his friendship with Russia, experts recall.
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Chancellor at Rosneft

An influential German politician, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, known for his close ties with Russia and friendship with President Vladimir Putin, was nominated to the board of directors of Rosneft, which should be approved by the shareholders on September 29. RBC told a source in the government and confirmed the acquaintance of Igor Sechin, chief executive officer of Rosneft. According to one of the interlocutors, Schroeder was asked to become an independent director.

The Board of Directors of Rosneft, which now consists of nine people, is planned to increase to 11. "At the last meeting of the Board of Directors, the name of Schröder was not called. But Sechin announced that two new members would be a new independent director, "a source close to Rosneft's board of directors told RBC. According to him, Rosneft as a public joint stock company wants to comply with the best conditions of the corporate governance code for companies that are traded on international exchanges. For this, third of the seats on the board of directors should be occupied by independent directors. Now three of the nine directors of Rosneft are independent, and if the membership of the council increases to 11 people, it will be necessary to introduce another independent director, the source concludes. In the current version of Rosneft's charter, at least one third of independent directors in the council are actually registered.

The spokesman for Rosneft Mikhail Leontiev declined to comment. The press secretary of BP (19.75% of Rosneft) in Russia Vladimir Buyanov also entered. The representative of Gerhard Schroeder in Hanover did not respond to RBC's request, whether he accepted the offer to join the board of directors of Rosneft.

Lawyer and politician

Schroeder, a lawyer by training, after graduating from university in Göttingen, worked for a long time in his specialty in private law firms, the district court of Hanover, and in 1978 opened his own practice. His political career began in 1963, when he joined the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and began to work actively in her youth organization, which he headed in 1978. In 1980-1986 Schroeder was a deputy of the Bundestag, after which he headed the opposition forces in Lower Saxony, and in 1990 was elected prime minister of this federal land.

In 1994, Schröder was nominated as Foreign Minister by the SPD, but the party lost the election. In 1998, the politician led the electoral list of the SPD, and the party won for the first time since 1982 in the parliamentary elections, receiving 40.9% of the vote. The politician headed the coalition government of the SPD and the Union of 90 / Greens in 1998-2005. The

"Rosneft" is not the first large Russian company, in the leadership of which Schroeder can enter. After resigning as Chancellor of Germany, he headed the Supervisory Board first, and soon the Nord Stream AG shareholders committee set up to manage the Nord Stream gas pipeline, which runs along the bottom of the Baltic Sea to Europe. In 2016, he also headed the company Nord Stream 2 - operator of the construction of the third and fourth threads of this gas pipeline.

In early 2009, Schroeder joined the board of directors of TNK-BP (in 2013, passed under the control of Rosneft) as one of three independent participants. Previously, the company experienced a sharp conflict of shareholders - BP and the Russian consortium AAR (Alfa Group Mikhail Fridman, Access Industries Leonard Blavatnik and Renova Viktor Vekselberg). As Kommersant wrote, then Schroeder appeared in TNK-BP on the recommendation of the Russian authorities. "He watched the situation in the company, was some kind of counterbalance in the conflict of shareholders," one of the interlocutors of the newspaper said. In March 2014, Kommersant assumed that the German politician could become a member of the board of directors of Rosneft on the recommendation of BP, but then this did not happen.

They gave way

Schroeder can be elected to the board of directors of Rosneft at an extraordinary meeting of shareholders on September 29. About its call, "Rosneft" reported in late July, but candidates for the council did not disclose. At the last annual meeting of shareholders held on June 22, the board of directors had to leave the energy minister Alexander Novak and Gazprombank's predecessor Andrey Akimov to include representatives of new shareholders-the Swiss trader Glencore (represented by CEO Ivan Glazenberg) and the Qatari sovereign QIA Foundation (president of research projects Qatar Foundation Faisal Al Suwaydi), which in December 2016 during privatization acquired 19.5% of Rosneft.

"The Energy Minister, evaluating the risks of fulfilling the listing rules of the Moscow and London stock exchanges on the mandatory presence of at least three independent directors on the board of directors, recommended that some of our investors, shareholders supporting his candidacy, send their votes in support of independent directors," Sechin . He added that Rosneft proposed to increase the number of participants in the board of directors, so that later Novak could again enter it. He did not talk about the possibility of returning Akimov to the council. His place and can take Schroeder, argue the interlocutors of RBC.

The invitation of Schroeder is due to his influence in the West and close ties with Russia, says German political scientist, scientific director of the German-Russian forum Alexander Rahr. In conditions of sanctions on the European political scene, there are practically no major figures who would agree to support Russian business, he believes. He recalls that the former chancellor has repeatedly proved his usefulness by helping Gazprom and other Russian companies, as well as organizing alliances on energy cooperation between international companies and Russia.

Schroeder is deeply integrated into the European elite and has a reputation for being very close to Russia, agrees the director of the International Institute of Political Expertise, Yevgeny Minchenko. His figure is closely connected not only with President Vladimir Putin, but also with oil and gas elites, he adds.

"Rosneft" plans to implement several projects for the liquefaction of natural gas, the technology for which has not yet been selected, reminds the analyst of Raiffeisenbank Andrei Polishchuk. Under American sanctions, Schroeder could help the company acquire technology in Europe, for example, from the German Linde. The expert believes that the former German chancellor could also help to conduct a dialogue in the West with a view to mitigating anti-Russian sanctions.

Working on the board of directors of Rosneft suggests a good reward. At the end of 2016, the company will pay $ 2.27 million to the board members. ExxonMobil Treasurer Donald Humphreys, one of the company's three independent directors, will remunerate $ 565,000, Matthias Warnig, managing director of Nord Stream 2 AG and Oleg Vyugin, an economist, will receive $ 580,000 each.

The representative of the Energy Ministry declined to comment, the representative of Gazprombank did not respond to RBC's request.