PARIS Feb 12 The board of French oil major
Total asked shareholders to raise the age limits for
the chairman and chief executive positions in the group's
bylaws, a move that would allow an extension of Christophe de
Margerie's mandate at its helm.
The age limit for the chairman position would be raised to
70 from 65, while that for the chief executive role would be
extended by two years to 67, amendments voted by the board to be
submitted to the next general assembly showed on Wednesday.
"It would give the board more flexibility to take the best
decision for the benefit of your company. I will not decide, I
can still say 'yes' or 'no', but the board will decide who and
when," De Margerie told analysts when asked about the change
during a presentation.
De Margerie, which currently holds both roles, will turn 63
this year. The mandates run until 2015, and the age limits
currently in place would make it impossible for him to seek a
"I will be going for re-election in May 2015 as a board
member. So if they don't elect me, 'khalas' ('enough' in
Arabic), I go fishing," De Margerie said in comments made in
English during the analyst presentation in London.
"Second option, they re-vote for me, and I am at the board
for another three years. Then there'll be a board meeting taking
place after the AGM in May 2015 and they'll decide what they
want to have: a Chairman, a CEO or a Chairman and CEO," he said.
De Margerie has been at the helm of France's biggest listed
company since 2007.
No heir apparent has emerged so far, although Philippe
Boisseau, head of Total's new energy division and Patrick
Pouyanne, head of the refining branch are often cited as
credible long-term candidates.
"Today most of the companies of the CAC 40 at least, have
the chairman being able to stay on board until 70, so it's just
making the bylaws of Total in line with the benchmark," De
The group reported fourth-quarter results earlier on
(Reporting by Benjamin Mallet, writing by Michel Rose; Editing
by Elaine Hardcastle)