Gazprom has replaced the head of its exporting arm and appointed one of its deputies in his stead, as director-general.

Gazprom has appointed Elena Burmistrova to replace Alexander Medvedev, who has been the head of its export unit for 12 years. Burmistrova, started her career at Glencore in 1992, joining Gazprom in 2003.

Medvedev will continue his role as a deputy chief executive at the state-owned gas producer, overseeing foreign economic activities, social and sport programmes, the company has announced.

“Gazprom’s geographical expansion and far-reaching plans in the foreign markets require new structural and functional decision-making,” Alexey Miller, CEO of the Gazprom says.

Underlining the importance of Gazprom in Russian politics as well as the economy, President Vladimir Putin recently met Burmistrova and Miller.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that the three discussed “eastern projects” — an apparent reference to attempts to increase business with Asia following the signing of a 30-year gas supply deal with China in May.

The US$400bn deal to supply gas to China will make Beijing one of the largest buyers of Russian gas.