Shares in French oil and gas giant Total were up three percent by the end of Tuesday following the untimely death of its boss Christophe de Margerie.
That is because the company has moved swiftly to reassure investors that it will be business as usual and that de Margerie’s succession will be orderly and smooth.
“I think that in the company’s culture today, the way de Margerie has set up the administrative board, it has been the plan for quite a while that it would be from within the people in the group that the future bosses of the company would be found,” said the president of Montsegur Finance Alain Crouzat.
The three favourites to take over France’s second most valuable company by stockmarket value are the current marketing and service head Philippe Boisseau, refineries boss Patrick Pouyanné and Arnaud Breuillac, the new upstream services director.
However it is far from certain that the new CEO will want to take Total in the same direction.
Euronews Business correspondent Natalia Marshalkovich in Moscow reported “Total is one of the oldest and largest foreign investors in Russia’s gas and oil sectors. Christophe de Margerie, killed so tragically, considered Russia as a priority development market and had called for less strict Western sanctions. The question now is what will his successor do?”