On Monday, February 25, Gazprom announced the resignation of two deputy chairmen of the board - Valery Golubev, who oversaw the domestic gas market (sales and gasification), and Alexander Medvedev (export). Both are "dismissed," the Russian energy corporation said.
As specified in the statement, Medvedev will focus on the activities of the International Business Congress and at work in the Zenit football club, which he headed on February 22. The new place of work of Golubev is not mentioned in the message, but the head of Gazprom, Alexey Miller, expressed his gratitude for many years of fruitful work.
According to RBC, a source surrounded by the chairman of Gazprom, the absence of such a remark regarding Medvedev does not mean anything: he headed Zenit, and on Monday he was introduced to the team by Miller himself and the general director of Gazprom Neft Alexander Dyukov, who on February 22 headed Russia Football Union, and before that was chairman of the board of directors of Zenit. “A life-long post is only the president of Turkmenistan,” the interlocutor of RBC joked, commenting on the resignations.
The resignations of the company's deputy chairman of the board are the most significant renewal of the Gazprom team since 2002, said Alexey Belogoryev, deputy chief director of the Energy and Finance Institute.
What did the dismissed top managers do
Golubev and Medvedev have been on the board of Gazprom for over 15 years. Golubev, who turns 67 this year, in addition to the domestic gas market, oversaw the construction of some gas pipelines, including Power of Siberia, through which Russian gas will be supplied to China, an administration source told RBC. Medvedev, who was 63 years old last August, until the summer of 2014 headed the main subsidiary of Gazprom selling gas abroad, Gazprom Export, and then continued to oversee this area as deputy chairman.
For at least the last three years, both have not actively participated in the company's operating activities, a former top manager of Gazprom told RBC. Thus, the head of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz, Kirill Seleznev, is in charge of the domestic market, and Mikhail Sereda, head of the administration, member of the board of directors of Gazprom, and Elena Burmistrova, head of Gazprom Export, who replaced Medvedev as CEO of Gazprom Export, is in charge of the external market. in July 2014), he explained. Sereda manages the entire European sales network of Gazprom, said the interlocutor of RBC.
A high-ranking source at Gazprom added that there were no complaints about top managers. “They are very deserved. And they will be engaged in social work for the benefit of the country, including the sports part, ”he explained.
Golubev’s departure is more surprising than Medvedev, since Golubev is Putin’s colleague in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office and, before moving to Moscow, headed the St. Petersburg tourism committee, recalls the director of East European Gas Analysis, Mikhail Korchemkin. Previously, Forbes called this top manager "Vladimir Putin's colleague in the KGB," and Golubev, along with Medvedev, "Miller's last opponents" in the management of Gazprom.
Miller's representative Sergei Kupriyanov did not respond to the RBC request.
Veterans of "Gazprom" and not only
In 1979-1991, Valery Golubev served in the KGB, where, according to several of his acquaintances, he met the future president, Vladimir Putin. In 1991, Golubev got a job in the St. Petersburg Mayor's Office, where until 2002 he worked as head of the secretariat, head of the Vasileostrovsky district administration, as chairman of the tourism committee (at the same time, Putin supervised foreign economic relations at the mayor's office). In 2002–2003, Golubev was a representative of the Leningrad Region in the Council of Federation, and in 2003 he joined the board of Gazprom. A source in the company told RBC that Golubev can still communicate directly with Putin.
Alexander Medvedev, who has been Gazprom’s key gas export negotiator for many years, has been heading the Continental Hockey League since 2008 and has played hockey himself, including on the same team as Putin in the Night Hockey League. Having headed the Zenit football club, Medvedev intends to continue to oversee hockey and tennis. “When discussing the conditions of the transition, I managed to convince Alexey Borisovich Miller that donate two tennis tournaments (Medvedev is the general director of the annual tournaments of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) and the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP), which take place in St. Petersburg - RBC), each of which was recognized as the best in its category, do not. So I will continue to deal with them, ”he told the corporate publication of Zenith.
What caused Golubev and Medvedev to leave
Miller took advantage of the situation and cleared the team of people appointed from outside, who for many years were considered to be his opponents, a source close to Gazprom told RBC.
The ceasing of the leadership of Gazprom occurred against the background of the criminal case of Senator Rauf Arashukov and his father Raul Arashukov, adviser to the head of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz. The investigation accuses the senator of involvement in the murder of two people, and Arashukov Sr. in the creation of a criminal gang that was engaged in theft of gas from Gazprom; the damage from its actions is estimated by a consequence of more than 30 billion rubles. The RBC source noted that Arashukov Sr. used the patronage of influential people in Moscow and Gazprom in particular.
The Arashukovs case could have accelerated Golubev’s resignation, because he was in charge of the board in charge of the domestic market, including Gazprom Mezhregiongaz, the former and current top managers of Gazprom told RBC. "This is an attempt to divert attention and exchange a less needed figure so that the head of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz, Kirill Seleznev, whose adviser was Arashukov Sr., retained his position in the company," believes one of the interlocutors of RBC.
The connection between the current resignations and the Arashukovs' case is unlikely, Belogoryev from the Institute of Energy and Finance disagrees. The fact that Golubev was dismissed at the same time as Medvedev indicates that a principled decision was made in advance and has a clearly deeper motivation, he points out. If there was a connection with the Arashukovs' case, the authorities would have publicly designated it, demonstrating their efforts in combating the embezzlement of state property, Korchemkin of East European Gas Analysis agrees.
Golubev and Medvedev declined to comment.
Who will take the vacant position of deputy chairman
Among the contenders for the place of deputy chairman of Gazprom, who oversees gas exports, may be the head of Gazprom Export, Elena Burmistrova, and the head of Gazprom’s foreign economic activity department, Pavel Oderov, a RBC presidential spokesman told RBC. Both Burmistrov and Oderov are professionals, experienced managers, he added.
"I think it is almost possible that the successor could be Oderov, Burmistrova - it may well be," says a source from RBC from among the former top managers of Gazprom. However, the post of Medvedev will most likely be reduced, and the export block will simply be subordinated to Mikhail Sereda, and Golubev will do the same with the post - the head of Gazprom Mezhregiongaz, Kirill Seleznev, will be in charge of the domestic market, the RBC source said. All this will be called optimization, he concluded.
The policy of Gazprom in the foreign and domestic markets will not change anything from changing the curator’s figure: the president makes key decisions, and the task of board members is to carry them out, adds Korchemkin.
"On all appointments will inform in a timely manner," - said RBC representative of Gazprom, responding to a question about the successors Golubev and Medvedev. Their resignation has yet to approve the board of directors of Gazprom, the company said. Its meeting should take place on Tuesday, February 26, a source close to the company said.
Together with Golubev and Medvedev, the head of department 307 (mining) Vsevolod Cherepanov was dismissed. He will continue to work at a different position in the Gazprom Group, the company's press service clarified. Cherepanov himself told RBC that he had left the post of department head and board in connection with the expiration of the contract. Answering the question of what position he would remain in the company, Cherepanov said: “Nobody has voiced anything to me yet. This is an assumption that I must stay somewhere. There is a special case. I can not say yet whether I will remain at Gazprom or leave completely. ”