Russian oil giant Rosneft appoints former Austrian foreign minister to its board

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Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl reacts during a news conference following a meeting with her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, Russia March 12, 2019. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo

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MOSCOW, June 2 (Reuters) - Shareholders in Russian oil giant Rosneft (ROSN.MM) on Wednesday appointed former Austrian foreign minister Karin Kneissl to the company's board.

Rosneft nominated her in March after Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin signed a decree listing her as a candidate to become an independent director on state-owned Rosneft's board.

President Vladimir Putin attended Kneissl's wedding in Austria in 2018 and was photographed dancing arm-in-arm with her, a move that drew criticism at the time from some commentators who accused her of a naive gesture that would hurt her country's reputation.

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Kneissl, who served as Austria's foreign minister between 2017 and 2019, rejected the criticism at the time, saying the gesture was not an act of submission as some critics had suggested.

The 56-year-old polyglot Middle East expert was appointed foreign minister by the far-right Freedom Party, which has a cooperation agreement with the Russia's ruling pro-Putin United Russia Party.

Rosneft said in a statement on Wednesday that its shareholders had elected 11 members to its new board, including Bernard Looney, Chief Executive Officer of BP (BP.L), as well as Matthias Warnig, the head of Nord Stream 2 AG, and Gerhard Schroeder, a former German chancellor.

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Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin Editing by Andrew Osborn

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