State-run Kuwait Petroleum Company (KPC) appointed a new chief executive and suspended other top officials after the country paid $2.2 billion in damages to Dow Chemical Co over a scrapped plastics joint venture.

Nizar Mohammad al-Asani replaced Farouk Zanki as CEO at the oil firm and the cabinet approved the nomination of six board members, a statement on state news agency KUNA said. Newspaper al-Rai said that two of the board members were new.

The government also suspended officials at KPC unit Petrochemical Industries Co. which pulled out of the $17.4 billion K-Dow petrochemical venture in December 2008, citing the deteriorating global economy. It did not give details.

The chief executive of KPC holds a seat on Kuwait's Supreme Petroleum Council, which sets oil policy. Kuwaiti newspapers reported on Sunday that other KPC members of the council had been replaced, without giving details.

K-Dow was a politically sensitive deal in major oil exporter Kuwait and came under scrutiny in parliament, where lawmakers often clash with the government, especially over large state investments.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall; Editing by Sanjeev)