Ministry of economic development has turned down the nomination of vice-president of Russian Academy of Sciencies Aleksandr Nekipelov for the post of the company’s independent director. Earlier his candidature was supported both by the Ministry of Energy and the Federal Agency for State Property Management. Currently Nekipelov is an acting director.
According to the memorandum sent by Vice-Premier Igor Sechin to Minister of Economy Elvira Nabiulina on April, 22, the ministry can not agree with his nomination, because Nekipelov has no status of «profeccional attorny». The Ministry of Energy and the Agency for State Property has already approved the nomination and the only obstacle Nekipelov is facing is lack of formal approval of the Ministry of Economic Development. Sechin says that the situation affects the capitalization of Rosneft, which decreased by 10 % in the second half of April.
Sechin was a chairman of the boards of directors of Rosneft but resigned before the end of his term on April, 11, following President Dmitry Medvedev's order that all vice-premiers should leave boards of directors in the large state-run companies. Sechin will be on board until June, 10 when he is replaced by Senior Vice-President of Vneshtorgbank Sergey Shishin.
On April, 8, Deputy Minister of Economy Aleksandra Levitskaya, speaking at the meeting held by Vice-Premier Igor Shuvalov, proposed to set new restrictions on the candidates for chairmen of the board of directors in large companies. At that time the decision was made that the vice-premiers and ministers who currently hold such positions should be replaced by “profeccional attornies”, not independent directors. The heads or deputy heads of the companies can not hold the chairman position in more than one company. According to the reports, the third restriction imposes the ban to elect the same state representatives to the boards of different companies. The fourth restriction was formulated by Dmitry Medvedev himself. The attorney, appointed instead of minister or vice-premier, can not be a clerk (technical worker at a ministry).
As a wayout Igor Sechin proposed to sign a contract of professional attorney with Aleksandr Nekipelov. In order to have the contract signed vice-president of Russian Academy of Sciencies will have to get assessment from the commission of the Agency for State Property, which will take time. According to the company's charter, the chairman and the directors are elected by the majority vote, votes of discontinued members are not counted. The board of directors can choose a new chairman any time by the same principil.
Several factors may have influenced the decrease in the company’s capitalisation. The company can not complete the deal with BP and most likely it will loose its privileges in selling Eastern Siberian oil. The future Sechin's resignation will distract possible investors who associate Rosneft with the support of Russian state, the experts think. It is unlikely that the investors meet Aleksandr Nekipelov's nomination with enthusiasm. Many believe he is inexperienced in making strategic decisions.
Meanwhile Sechin demonstrates his active participation in Rosneft affairs. Last week he announced the beginning of long-term cooperation between the state-run company and LUKOIL. He said he “can look at the company in a more sober way”.