* New upstream head is former Vekselberg power exec
* Likely to serve as caretaker pending ownership talks
(Adds background on TNK-BP sale talks)
MOSCOW, Oct 12 (Reuters) - TNK-BP will appoint itsformer head of power and gas to temporarily run the upstreamdivision after the departure of Alexander Dodds, two sourcesclose to the Anglo-Russian oil venture said on Friday.
Mikhail Slobodin, currently responsible for major projects,managed utility assets for Viktor Vekselberg, one of BP'slocal partners in the joint venture, before moving to TNK-BP torun its power and gas division in 2011.
TNK-BP declined comments.
Dodds, the most senior executive to leave the company in anexodus of staff over the past five months, was due to announcehis departure from Russia's third-largest oil firm on Friday.
The sources said Slobodin would serve as caretaker head ofthe upstream division pending the outcome of discussions onchanging the company's ownership structure.
BP announced in June it wanted to sell its 50 percent stakein the lucrative joint venture after years of protractedconflict with its local partners.
Vekselberg and three other Soviet-born businessmen whoco-own TNK-BP initially said they wanted to buy out BP. Undertheir shareholder agreement, BP is required to hold sale talkswith them for a fixed period, which ends on Oct. 17.
The four billionaires have told the British company they toomay try to sell out of the No. 3 oil producer. They are seen aslikely to sell if Russian state oil company Rosneft issuccessful in a planned bid for BP's stake.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Melissa Akin; editing byKeiron Henderson)
Keywords: RUSSIA TNKBP/