* 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 its former head of power and gas to temporarily run the upstream division after the departure of Alexander Dodds, two sources close 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's local partners in the joint venture, before moving to TNK-BP to run its power and gas division in 2011.
TNK-BP declined comments.
Dodds, the most senior executive to leave the company in an exodus of staff over the past five months, was due to announce his departure from Russia's third-largest oil firm on Friday.
The sources said Slobodin would serve as caretaker head of the upstream division pending the outcome of discussions on changing the company's ownership structure.
BP announced in June it wanted to sell its 50 percent stake in the lucrative joint venture after years of protracted conflict with its local partners.
Vekselberg and three other Soviet-born businessmen who co-own TNK-BP initially said they wanted to buy out BP. Under their shareholder agreement, BP is required to hold sale talks with them for a fixed period, which ends on Oct. 17.
The four billionaires have told the British company they too may try to sell out of the No. 3 oil producer. They are seen as likely to sell if Russian state oil company Rosneft is successful in a planned bid for BP's stake.
(Reporting by Douglas Busvine and Melissa Akin; editing by Keiron Henderson)
Keywords: RUSSIA TNKBP/