Putin relative appointed to management of state gas giant Gazprom

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Russian gas giant Gazprom is seen on a board at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 (SPIEF 2017) in St. Petersburg, Russia, June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Mikhail Putin, identified by the Kremlin as a distant relative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been appointed deputy chair of the management board of state-run gas giant Gazprom, the company said on Friday.

Mikhail Putin was born in 1967 and studied medicine, according to a biography published by Gazprom. He worked in the health ministry, and between 2004 and 2007 was head of Gazprom’s medical directorate. His latest role was as deputy head of the management board at Sogaz, an insurance company for which Gazprom is a major client.

Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said of Mikhail Putin: “As far as I know, he is a distant relative of the president. I don’t know if they have any interaction.”

Mikhail Putin is a son of the president’s cousin, Interfax news agency reported. Gazprom declined to say what Mikhail Putin’s responsibilities in the company would be.

Gazprom had a vacancy on its management board after Alexander Kozlov, who was in charge of the company’s logistics and procurement, died last December aged 65.

Information about the president’s family is closely guarded from the public eye by Putin, a former head of Russia’s FSB secret service. He keeps his two daughters, Maria and Katerina, as well as his grandchildren, away from exposure to the media.

Putin has said he wants them to lead normal lives.

Reuters reported in 2015, citing sources who know her, that Katerina was using the surname Tikhonova, inherited from her grandmother.

Katerina Tikhonova runs publicly-funded projects at Moscow State University and serves as the vice president for expansion and marketing of the World Rock’n’Roll Confederation.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Writing by Christian Lowe and David Evans