Former Sovcomflot (SCF Group) chief financial officer Nikolai Kolesnikov has resigned, it has emerged.

The executive vice president left the sanctioned Russian state shipowner in March, following the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

Kolesnikov is a British citizen and TradeWinds understands he is now based in London.

There has been no public announcement of the departure from Sovcomflot, which has been contacted for comment.

The UK imposed sanctions on Sovcomflot in March. The US and European Union have also sanctioned the owner of tankers and gas carriers.

Kolesnikov had been with the Russian group for 17 years, overseeing a period of huge growth in shipping through newbuildings and the accumulation of billions of dollars in charter backlog.

He was a regular and eloquent interviewee in TradeWinds during his time at Sovcomflot.

He also began hosting conference calls with analysts following the listing of the owner in Moscow in 2020.

But the invasion changed all that, as the company’s London public relations company quit and the shipowner pulled back into Russia, issuing minimal updates on its finances.

Sovcomflot has confirmed to TradeWinds that 14 tankers and gas carriers worth $1.3bn have been sold in recent months.

European loans repaid

Two were older units, but the majority were modern vessels financed by European lenders whose loans needed to be repaid due to EU sanctions.

UK businesses have been granted more time to pull out of contracts with the company, however.

The British government announced last month that the wind-down deadline has been extended from 15 May to 30 June under a general licence.

In April, TradeWinds reported that the shipowner was closing its long-held office in London to comply.

Sovcomflot (UK) employed 17 staff at its Finsbury Square offices in central London. They worked under the leadership of Callum Ludgate, who has been employed by the company for 29 years and has been managing director since 2005.

Managed in Moscow

The UK arm has undertaken all the commercial management and chartering for the SCF Group, with a particular focus on the international account.

It has acted as the primary chartering office for the whole fleet and is well known for its tanker and gas carrier business.

TradeWinds understands that this role has been taken back internally and the business migrated to Sovcomflot in Moscow.