January 13, 2005 |
|Business tycoon Viktor Vekselberg, one of Russia’s richest men, is to quit the board of aluminum giant SUAL, which he controls.|
The Vedomosti daily quoted sources close to Vekselberg as saying he would quit SUAL’s board at a shareholders’ meeting on Feb. 15, but that he would remain chairman of the SUAL Holding, which unites SUAL’s assets.
Ranked Russia’s third-richest man by the Russian edition of Forbes magazine last year, Vekselberg is also a major shareholder in the Russian-British joint venture TNK-BP. SUAL is one of the world’s biggest aluminum companies.
Russia’s magnates are being watched closely for signs they are distancing themselves from their businesses in the wake of the legal assault on fellow tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, former chief executive of oil major Yukos.
SUAL’s spokesman was not available for comment.
One source quoted by the newspaper said Vekselberg was quitting the SUAL board because his presence was no longer needed.
“The board of directors has turned into a venue for discussion of production issues,” the source was quoted as saying. “While Vekselberg, the company’s co-owner, doesn’t do day-to-day production stuff.”
Vekselberg, one of the immensely wealthy businessmen known in Russia as “oligarchs”, made his fortune in the 1990s when he joined forces with Mikhail Fridman’s Alfa Group to take over Russia’s third-largest oil company, TNK.