By Jonathan Davies

French oil firm Total has appointed a new chief executive and chairman after the man who held both positions, Christophe de Margerie died in a plane crash in Moscow yesterday (Tuesday).

Patrick Pouyanne, head of refining at the oil giant, has been appointed chief executive. And former Total chief executive Thierry Desmarest has been named chairman.

In a statement, Total said Mr Desmarest is due to retire in 2015 and the Mr Pouyanne will takeover the combined role, as Christophe de Margerie did.

Mr de Margerie was returning to Paris from Moscow when his private jet collided with a snow plough as it was taking off. All four people on board were killed.

Russian investigators have accused the man driving the snow plough of being drunk, although the man denies it. Instead, he claims he lost his way during bad weather and wasn't aware that he was on the runway.

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