* Pipeline issue already led to dismissal of treasury
* Poland fears Ukraine being sidelined by Russia's plans
* CEO says decision not based on merits of her work
(Adds CEO comments, share price, details)
WARSAW, April 29 Polish gas monopoly PGNiG
fired its chief executive on Monday after she failed to
stop a joint venture with Russia's Gazprom from
opening the way for a new Russian pipeline cutting out Poland's
Prime Minister Donald Tusk had already dismissed his
treasury minister less than two weeks ago after learning from
media reports that the venture had signed a memorandum to build
a segment of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline via Belarus and then
PGNiG, in which Poland holds a 72-percent stake, said in a
statement its supervisory board had lost confidence in the CEO,
Grazyna Piotrowska-Oliwa, one of only a handful of top female
executives at the biggest state companies.
Piotrowska-Oliwa said all her actions related to the
memorandum on the new Russian pipeline were lawful and
accordance with her responsibilities to shareholders.
"I don't treat today's decision to dismiss me as based on
the merits of my work as the chief executive," she said.
The board also dismissed her deputy, Radoslaw Dudzinski, who
was not immediately available to comment.
After disputes with Kiev over gas prices that have led to
repeated winter-time disruptions of Russian pipeline gas exports
across Ukraine in recent years, Russia has set out to bypass the
country with pipelines taking other routes to European markets.
Poland, the European Union's largest eastern member, sees
itself as Ukraine's strategic partner and is a leading advocate
of bringing it closer to Europe.
Poland fears Russia would be able to cut off gas supplies
to Ukraine much quicker with the alternative export routes.
Piotrowska-Oliwa was at the helm when Gazprom, Russia's
pipeline gas export monopoly, agreed in November to reduce
prices on oil sold to PGNiG, which had been losing money on
every barrel it was importing from the east.
Mainly as a result of the deal, PGNiG shares surged 46
percent during her tenure.
PGNiG shares closed 1.9 percent lower on Monday compared
with a 0.4 percent rise of Warsaw's main index.
(Reporting by Chris Borowski; Editing by Anthony Barker)