Reports said Rem Vyakhirev, the ex-chief executive of Russian gas giant Gazprom, has died at the age of 78.
National news agency RIA Novosti reported the death of the long-time company leader, citing an unidentified source in the gas industry.
Vyakhirev served as both deputy and first deputy minister of gas in what was formerly the USSR, becoming chairman of Gazprom in 1989. He was then made chief executive, a position he held until 2001 when he was ousted by incoming President Vladimir Putin and replaced with present incumbent, Alexei Miller.
His ousting was part of a wholesale purge in the organisation by Putin who looked to clear out anyone seen as loyal to the Vyakhirev regime.
Miller brought with him colleagues from St Petersburg and representatives from the presidential administration to replace Gazprom’s former top managers.
Vyakhirev remained on the Gazprom board until mid 2002 when he was replaced as chairman of the board by Dmitry Medvedev.