By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Christophe de Margerie, Chief Executive of the French oil company Total, has been killed on the runway of Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow.
M. Margerie died when his business jet collided with a snowplow just before midnight as it accelerated for take-off on Monday this week. The jet’s three crew members also died.
Russian state prosecutors later said that the driver of the snowplow was intoxicated.
A spokesperson for 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.”
Margerie – known as the ‘Big Moustache’ among his colleagues for his trademark facial hair – was one of the most influential and colourful figures in the global energy industry. He joined the Total group in 1974, became chief executive in 2007 and served as Chairman from May 2010.
Peter Hutton, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets in London, said: “Mr. de Margerie is one of the most central and characteristic figures in the industry, and in our view, his loss will be deeply felt at Total both personally and organisationally.”