TNK-BP's Russian chairman asks British CEO to resign

Mumbai: The Russian chairman of BP's joint venture TNK-BP, Mikhail Fridman, has called on the firm's chief executive Robert Dudley to step down after a Russian labour regulator fined Dudley and the oil company 3,000 rubles ($125) and 40,000 rubles ($1,650), respectively, for violations of rules.

Robert Dudley, CEO, TNK-BPRussia's labour inspectorate said the penalty could force its chief executive Robert Dudley to quit the post, but, Mikhail Malyuga of the Moscow city labor inspectorate said the company had been given a month to "rectify the situation."

Dudley had also been questioned by Russian security agencies for letting in foreigners into the oil company's office premises without any safeguards.

BP and its Russian partners in the 50:50 joint venture, TNK-BP, have been engaged in a long-running battle over strategy and the row has become increasingly acrimonious with Fridman calling for ouster of the JV's British CEO. (See: BP, Russian partners locked in battle for control over TNK-BP

Fridman said the actions of the Russian police, who pulled in Dudley for questioning, are only routine practice in Russia.

Fridman has been complaining for long that TNK-BP CEO Robert Dudley was concerned only with BP's interests and this, he said, was "unacceptable".

BP, however, denied this allegation and said said Dudley represented the interests of all shareholders of TNK-BP and it had full confidence in the  chief executive.