Thierry Desmarest

DEFINITION of 'Thierry Desmarest'

The chairman and former CEO and president of Total, one of the world's largest oil and gas companies. Under Desmarest's leadership, Total increased its oil reserves, made a natural gas deal with Iran and acquired PetroFina and Elf Aquitaine. Desmarest has also been a director of Sanofi-Aventis, Air Liquide and Renault.

BREAKING DOWN 'Thierry Desmarest'

Born in 1945 in Paris, Desmarest obtained his education at the Ecole Polytechnique and the Ecole des Mines. He began his career in 1971 as an engineer with the Corps des Mines and worked in various engineering positions for the government until he joined Total in 1981 as its director of Algerian operations. As he advanced, he oversaw Latin America, West Africa, North and South America, France and the Far East. Desmarest became president and CEO in 1995 and chairman and CEO in 1998. In 2007, Christophe de Margerie became CEO, but Desmarest remained chairman.