The chief executive officer of Total, a French oil company, Christophe de Margerie, 63, has been reported dead following a plane crash in Moscow.He had been chief executive of Europe’s third largest oil company since 2007.
The airport spokeswoman, Elena Krylova said: “Tonight, a plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine. Three crew members and a passenger died,” according to BBC reports.
“I can confirm that the passenger was Total’s head de Margerie.”
The crash occurred when the late CEO’s jet had been due to fly to Paris from Moscow’s Vnukovo International Airport located to the southwest of Moscow and is used by President Vladimir Putin and other government officials.Russia’s emergencies ministry said in a statement the accident had involved a Falcon-50 plane shortly before midnight local time (20:00 GMT) on Monday, October 20, 2014.
The jet had been due to fly to Paris. The three crew members were all French.
Reports say the visibility at airport was 350m (1,150ft).
After his graduation from the Ecole Superieure de Commerce in Paris in 1974, Mr de Margerie joined Total Group which is among the biggest foreign investors in Russia and plans to double its output by 2020.In a statement by the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, he said, “France is losing an extraordinary business leader who turned Total into a world giant.”
“France is losing a great industry captain and a patriot.”
He had spent most of his entire life in Total where he earned himself “Big Moustache” as a nickname .
Lamenting his death, former president of Shell Oil John Hofmeister said, “It’s a huge loss to the industry and its future focus.
“What he has done for Total in repositioning the company to return to integrity and sound operations is deeply respected and highly regarded.”
Speculations have it that Mr de Margerie had been attending a meeting of foreign investors with the Russian Prime Minister, although investigations are currently ongoing.
“At the moment, it is already established that the driver of the snow plough was in a condition of alcoholic intoxication,” said Russia’s Investigative Committee, a federal agency which answers to President Vladimir Putin.
While he was heading Total oil company, Margerie successfully defended the company against allegations of corruption around the UN oil-for-food programme in Iraq.