Former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder has told Russian energy company Rosneft that he intends to step down from its board, the company announced on Friday, as part of a major concession from the German ally of the Kremlin who fell out of favor after Russia invaded Ukraine.
German businessman and Nord Stream AG chief executive Matthias Warnig also informed Rosneft of his departure from its board, the company said in a statement reported by Reuters and Deutsche Welle.
Rosneft said in the statement it was “sympathetic” to their resignations and thanked the two Germans “for their continued support.”
The resignation of Schröder, who served as German chancellor from 1998 to 2005, comes a day after the German government stripped him of some special rights as a former head of state and the European Union parliament European Union supported sanctions against Europeans sitting on company boards.
the the wall street journal reported on Friday that four Rosneft vice presidents were leaving the company, citing people familiar with the matter.
The second largest Russian company by market capitalization, Rosneft is the country’s largest oil producer and is owned by the Russian government. British oil giant BP announced that it would sell its 19.75% stake in Rosneft on February 27, three days after Russia invaded Ukraine. Schröder condemned the war in a post on LinkedIn, although he acknowledged in the post that “mistakes” by the West may have prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to order the invasion. Several staff members of Schröder’s German office reportedly left their jobs in March due to his refusal to give up his Russian business interests.
If Schroder still joins the board of Gazprom, another Russian state-owned energy titan and the country’s largest company by market capitalization. Gazprom appointed Schröder to join the company’s board on February 4.
The former Chancellor who became Putin’s man in Germany (New York Times)
Former German Chancellor in a hurry to resign from Russian company, loses benefits (Washington Post)
Why does Gerhard Schröder, the former German Chancellor, remain comfortable with Russia? (The Economist)