World / Europe

Putin, Medvedev offer condolences over Total CEO's death

(Xinhua) Updated: 2014-10-21 18:29

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have offered their condolences to the family and friends of Christophe de Margerie, CEO of French oil giant Total, who died at a Moscow airport early Tuesday.

"I am shocked by the news about the air crash in the Moscow Vnukovo airport which claimed the life of Total CEO Christophe de Margerie," Putin said in a telegram sent to his French counterpart, Francois Hollande.

Calling de Margerie, who pioneered a large number of major joint projects, an outstanding French entrepreneur, Putin said, "We lost a true friend of our country and we will always keep him in good memory."

Medvedev offered his condolences to the family of de Margerie and the management of Total, calling his death "an enormous loss," said the Russian government's press service.

Christophe de Margerie, 63, along with three crew members, were killed when their corporate plane collided with a snowplow driven by a reportedly drunk driver at a runway in Vnukovo airport during the takeoff.

As one of the most recognizable figures among the world's top oil executives, de Margerie was on the list of attendees at a Russian government meeting on foreign investment in Gorki near Moscow on Monday.

Total is the fourth largest by market value of the Western world's top oil companies, behind Exxon, Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron. It is also one of the top foreign investors in Russia, which accounted for some 9 percent of Total's oil and gas output in 2013.

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