Updated 3:23 p.m. Moscow Time
MOSCOW, October 22 (RIA Novosti) - Patrick Pouyanne has been elected chief executive of French energy giant Total, while Thierry Desmarest has been elected chairman Wednesday, following the death of the company's CEO and chairman Christophe de Margerie on Monday night, the company's press office told RIA Novosti.
"Historically, such separation [of the roles of chairman and chief executive] existed before de Margerie, the practice is not new," the company's representative said.
Desmarest will serve as chairman without executive responsibilities until 2015 and then hand over the reins to Pouyanne.
Earlier in the day, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation that Desmarest would temporarily serve as chairman as he will turn 70 in December 2015, the company's age limit for its board members. Thierry Desmarest was the chairman of the board of directors of Total from 2007 until 2010.
Patrick Pouyanne is executive vice president of Total and president of the refining and chemicals division.
Former Total chief de Margerie died on Monday night when his business jet departing for Paris crashed in Moscow's Vnukovo-3 Airport after hitting a snowplow during takeoff. None of the four people on board – de Margerie and three crew members – survived.
Russia's Investigative Committee is considering two main theories as to the cause of the crash – a traffic control mistake and the actions of the snowplow driver. The investigators are also checking if the plane could have crashed due to bad weather conditions or pilot error.