According to Times writer Simon Ostrovsky, Theede ended up "at the helm of Russia's largest and most politically active company" through "a war of attrition."
- Just two years ago, as a vice president of U.S. oil major ConocoPhillips, Steven Theede was locked in battle with Yukos over legislation that would have made it easier for his company to operate in Russia. ... But he buried the hatchet with his former foe in August by becoming Yukos' chief operating officer.
- Now, after the weekend arrest and detention of CEO Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky and the abdication Monday of Vasily Shakhnovsky -- who resigned as president of Yukos-Moskva, the oil giant's main strategic center, to become a senator from the remote region of Evenkia -- Theede has found himself in charge of the $24 billion -- and shrinking -- company.
- With the resignation of Shakhnovsky, who was charged last week with evading nearly $1 million in taxes and ordered not to leave Moscow, Yukos has expanded Theede's responsibilities. ... He now is essentially CEO, COO and senior vice president of Yukos, as well as president of its most important subsidiary, which is the company's main hive of planning for production and financial strategies. ...
- Analysts said the relatively unknown 30-year industry veteran is a natural choice to assume official control of the company now that Khodorkovsky is out of action indefinitely. ... Theede's vault into the acting CEO position at Yukos did not seem a likely event two years ago. As Conoco vice president, Theede locked horns with Khodorkovsky over production-sharing agreement legislation designed to give foreign companies investment incentives by offering them tax breaks and clear operating rights.
- In 2001, as Conoco ran into a double whammy of PSA-related problems that threatened to freeze its two Russian projects, Theede lashed out at what he described "an influential lobby," which, he said, was "interested in delaying the process of production-sharing legitimization." ... Without a move by the Russian government to give the go-ahead to more PSAs, Conoco could not start developing its Northern Territories Pipeline Project. ... In the meantime, as the government mulled a change in policy, its existing PSA for the Polar Lights venture in the Nenets autonomous region was facing a legal challenge from a local governor.
- Many industry players saw Khodorkovsky as being behind the lobby that was putting the brakes on PSAs. ... Khodorkovsky often openly said he believed PSAs gave foreign companies an unfair advantage on Russia's oil patch. He advised foreign investors not to expect tax breaks through PSAs and said they should buy Russian companies instead and invest in the market on equal terms with domestic players. ... Since then, however, Theede and Khodorkovsky appear to have put their differences behind them. ... Apart from Theede, other Yukos managers are moving up to take a more important role in the company while Khodorkovsky sits in jail.
- Yukos chief financial officer Bruce Misamore, who is also an American, said he saw the company's board of directors, particularly board chairman Simon G. Kukes, taking a more active role in the company during Khodorkovsky's absence, Dow Jones reported.
- The Kansas-born 51-year-old Theede graduated from Kansas State University in 1974 with a degree in mechanical engineering. From 1974, Conoco employed him in a variety of management positions. ... Before going to Yukos, Theede was president of exploration and production in Europe, Russia and the Caspian for ConocoPhillips.