New TNK-BP board elected

MOSCOW (AP) -- Anglo-Russian oil joint venture TNK-BP elected a completely new board at an extraordinary shareholders' meeting Monday, bringing to a close one of the most bitter corporate disputes in Russia this year.

The board includes four representatives from each Russian and British shareholder and one independent director.

Interim CEO Tim Summers said in a statement that "the management of the company now looks forward to proceeding under the new governance model" as it moves to "the next phase of the company's evolution."

The company, jointly owned by BP PLC and consortium of Russian shareholders AAR, was locked in a fierce boardroom battle earlier this year as the shareholders argued about strategy and investment programs.

As Russian authorities launched a barrage of probes against the firm, ranging from labor checks to tax claims, BP accused the Russian owners of using corporate raider tactics to try and wrest control.

Russian shareholders, meanwhile, called for CEO Robert Dudley's removal, arguing that he mismanaged the company and favored BP's interests.

Dudley fled Russia in July, citing a campaign of harassment against him. The US-born executive had been barred from working in Russia for two years after being accused of labor law violations.

Under the breakthrough deal reached between the Russian and British shareholders in September, Dudley stepped down. All members of the previous 10-person board also resigned.

The British and Russians also agreed to nominate a new, independent CEO and expand the board to add an independent director.

TNK-BP executives have been discussing nominees for new CEO for the past two weeks, but it is the newly elected board that will make the decision.

TNK-BP spokeswoman Marina Dracheva was unable to say when the board was expected to make the choice.

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