Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska intends to step down from his position as president of aluminum producer United Co. Rusal Plc and power company En+ Group plc, reported Russian newspaper Kommersant on Feb. 19.
Citing anonymous sources, the paper wrote that Deripaska wants to take a step back from management of the two Russian industrial giants and focus on developing other assets, particularly the GAZ automotive group. Deripaska will be succeeded as president at EN+ by Maxim Sokov, who currently manages Rusal's stake in Russia's largest mining company PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co., while at Rusal, he will be replaced by CFO Alexandra Bouriko.
People familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News that Rusal head Vladislav Soloviev will become CEO of En+. Bouriko will become the first woman to lead one of Russia's largest mining companies.
Deripaska's name was included on the U.S. government's Kremlin list, which was published at the end of January. The document signals the individuals that may be subject to further financial penalties in the future, prompting speculation that Deripaska's move to step down may be linked to his inclusion in the list.
Presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov addressed the rumors at a press conference on Feb. 19, saying that he believed it was "inappropriate" to link reports of Deripaska's departure with the list.
"I don't think that it is appropriate here, to somehow link everything that is happening in the country, in business, after this report was released, with these American lists. I don't think there is any link here," said Peskov.
Deripaska is also currently embroiled in a struggle for the controlling share of Norilsk Nickel with fellow Russian billionaire Vladimir Potanin. Deripaska sought an injunction in a London court to stop Roman Abramovich's Crispian Investment Ltd. from selling a portion of its 5% stake in Norilsk to a company owned by Potanin on Feb. 16.