Total CEO dies in crash at Moscow airport

French oil giant Total’s prices on the Euronext stock exchange dropped 2 percent after the death of the company’s CEO in a plane crash in Moscow, the market reported Tuesday.

On the Euronext Exchange, Total’s stocks dropped by 2 percent on the Paris market after news from Moscow verified that CEO Christophe de Margerie had died in a crash with a snowplow on the runway of Vnukovo Airport late Monday night, killing all four individuals on board the aircraft.

Russian investigators have confirmed that the driver of the snowplow was drunk.

The Falcon 50 jet crashed late Monday night in the Vnukovo-3 Airport in Moscow after the aircraft hit a snow removal vehicle on takeoff. The aircraft was flying from Moscow to Paris with energy giant Total’s head Christophe de Margerie as the only passenger on board besides three crew members, also French citizens.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a telegram to his French counterpart Francois Hollande expressing condolences over the death of Total’s CEO and crew members

“I am shocked by the report of an air crash at the Moscow Vnukovo airport, which has led to the death of the chairman of the board of directors and the president of the Total oil concern, Christophe de Margerie, and the crew members,” Putin said in the telegram.
“I ask you to convey the most sincere condolences and regrets to the relatives and friends of Christophe de Margerie, a distinguished French businessman who stood at the origins of the major joint projects which have laid the basis for the fruitful cooperation between Russia and France in the energy sphere for many years,” the telegram reads.
The president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Putin knew Margerie and maintained close working contacts with him. The president highly valued Margerie’s business qualities and his consistent commitment to the development of Russian-French relations and mutually beneficial cooperation on the whole, Peskov said.

Russia’s former finance minister Alexey Kudrin said on his page in Twitter Christophe de Margerie did a great deal in order to promote investments in the Russian economy. Kudrin also offered condolences over Margerie’s death in the crash.

“It is a grave tragedy,” he said.

De Margerie, who joined the French oil giant in 1974, has been credited with significantly expanding the company’s operations in Russia, which accounted for about nine percent of Total’s oil and gas output in 2013.

The late Total CEO was an outspoken critic of Western sanctions imposed on Russia over its involvement in the Ukrainian crisis.

In July, he told Reuters news agency that Europe should stop thinking about cutting its dependence on Russian gas and focus instead on making those deliveries safer.

Total said last month that sanctions would not halt its involvement in the so-called Yamal project, a $27 billion joint venture investment to tap vast natural gas reserves in northwest Siberia.