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Total names Patrick Pouyanné as CEO and Thierry Desmarest as caretaker chairman

22nd October 2014

Following the tragic and unexpected death of its long-time head and industry stalwart, Christophe de Margerie, Total has decided to raise Patrick Pouyanné into the position of chief executive officer and Thierry Desmarest as chairman until the two roles are combined next year

Total names Patrick Pouyanné as CEO and Thierry Desmarest as caretaker chairman
Patrick Pouyanné. Many in the industry are speculating on the company’s future without de Margerie’s strong leadership

The French supermajor has named Patrick Pouyanné as chief executive officer and president of the executive committee today following the unexpected death on Monday of Christophe de Margerie.

Pouyanné had previously held the role of president of refining and chemicals, and was already a member of the company’s executive committee. Many in the industry are speculating on the company’s future without de Margerie’s strong leadership.

Total has previously committed itself to acquiring a wide portfolio of exploration and production assets and has been outspoken in its commitment to exploring for oil and gas anywhere in the world in spite of diplomatic issues and pressures.

Pouyanné  is a graduate of École Polytechnique and an Engineer of the French Corps des Mines. From 1989 to 1996, he held various positions in the french industry ministry and in ministerial offices, including environment and industry technical advisor to the prime minister from 1993 to 1995 and chief of staff to the information technology and space minister from 1995 to 1996.

He joined Total in January 1997, as chief administrative officer of Total E&P Angola and became group representative in Qatar and CEO of Total E&P Qatar in 1999.

In August 2002, he was named senior vice president of finance, economics and information systems in exploration and production. In January 2006, he became senior vice president of strategy, business development and research and development in exploration and production.

Pouyanné has been a member of Total’s management committee since May 2006.

In March 2011, he was appointed senior vice president of chemicals and senior vice president of petrochemicals.

In January 2012, Pouyanné was appointed president, refining and chemicals and member of the executive committee.

Total has also raised Thierry Desmarest from honorary to official chairman of the board of directors.

Desmarest’s time as chairman will be brief as he will have reached the company’s executive age limit next year. Total plans to recombine the positions of chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer following Desmarest’s departure at the end of 2015.

Also a graduate of the École Polytechnique and an Engineer of the French Corps des Mines, Desmarest served as director of mines and geology in New Caledonia, then as technical advisor at the offices of the minister of industry and the minister of economy.

He joined Total in 1981, where he held various management positions, then served as president of exploration and production until 1995.

He served as chairman and chief executive officer of Total from May 1995 until February 2007, and then as chairman of the board of Total until May 21, 2010.

He was appointed honorary chairman and remains a director of Total and chairman of the Total Foundation.

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