TNK-BP Chief Dudley Survives Vote on Ouster

The Russian shareholders who own half of TNK-BP on Monday failed to dismiss the firm's American CEO, Robert Dudley, who they argue has run the venture in favor of 50 percent shareholder BP.

Viktor Vekselberg, one of the four Russian shareholders who split ownership of TNK-BP with BP, had called an extraordinary shareholder meeting of subsidiary TNK-BP Management in a bid to push out Dudley in favor of an "independent director."

Board members, voting by absentee ballot, dismissed the initiative 3-2, AAR, the consortium that represents the Russian shareholders, said in a statement. AAR says BP has three members representing its interests, compared with two for AAR.

BP welcomed the decision in a statement late Monday. "We believe the allegations made by AAR lack substance, are misleading and inaccurate," the statement said.

TNK-BP could not be reached for comment.

Dudley, who has led TNK-BP since it was founded in summer 2003, joined the firm from BP.

TNK-BP is due to hold a scheduled board meeting on July 11.

The fate of dozens of foreign TNK-BP employees could be resolved Tuesday, when an agency governing foreign workers meets to consider Dudley's request to expand the company's quota, Interfax reported.

Dudley had requested slots for 150 foreign employees, but his request was intercepted by shareholder German Khan, who asked for just 63. The agency, known as the Interdepartmental Commission for Hiring Foreign Workers, according to Interfax, has approved 49 work permits.

AAR, representing Khan and Mikhail Fridman's Alfa Group, Vekselberg's Renova and Len Blavatnik's Access Industries, says TNK-BP must boost the number of Russians in senior management positions.