The Deputy CEO of Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom Alexander Ryazanov has been sacked, for apparently failing to carry out management instructions and will be replaced by Putin's ex-colleague.
A source at Gazprom said Alexander Ryazanov had also taken an independent position on a number of issues.
Mr Ryazanov confirmed to the Vedomosti newspaper that his contract was unlikely to be renewed.
Valery Golubev will leave his current post as head of Gazprom's investment department to take over from him.
Golubev is an ex-KGB officer and served in the St Petersburg mayor's office at the same time Vladimir Putin was launching his political career in the city.
Analysts say the new appointment could spark an asset buying spree.