The CEO of Europe's third largest oil company Christophe de Margerie has been killed after a collision between his private jet and a snow-clearing machine at Moscow's Vnukovo airport.
Russian authorities said the incident had involved a Falcon-50 plane, with the collision occurring a little before midnight local time. Visibility was reported to have been 350m at the time of the crash.
Airport spokeswoman Elena Krylova said:
Tonight, a plane crashed when it collided with a snow-clearing machine. Three crew members and a passenger died.
I can confirm that the passenger was Total's head de Margerie.
De Margerie, 63, had been on his way to Paris with the three French crew members. Affectionately nicknamed "Big Moustache", de Margerie had been the boss of the French oil giant, Total, since 2007 and was highly regarded in the industry.
He had been attending a foreign investment meeting in Gorki yesterday. De Margerie had argued Europe should continue its energy relationship with Russia despite the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.
Margerie defended Total successfully against allegations of corruption surrounding the UN food-for-oil programme in Iraq. Despite US sanctions, he decided to continue doing business in both Iran and Burma.