Robert Dudley Promoted To CEO of BP

BP officially announced today that Tony Hayward is stepping down as CEO and being replaced by Robert Dudley effective Oct. 1, the Associated Press reported.

As an American, Dudley marks BP PLC’s first ever non-British chief executive, the company said as it reported a record quarterly $17 billion loss and set aside $32.2 billion to cover costs from the spill.

The move comes after weeks of speculation in the press that the gaffe-prone Hayward would be replaced as the London-based company seeks to reassure both the public and investors that it is learning lessons from the spill.

“There’s no question we are going to learn things from this investigation of the incident,” Dudley said after the announcement was made.

Dudley, BP’s managing director, was brought in to oversee the spill response after Hayward fell out of favor with the public and after a number of blunders including saying he would like his life back and attending a yacht race off the coast of England as Gulf residents struggled to cope with the spill.

“I don’t particularly like talking about myself, but I think you will find I listen hard and carefully to people and have worked with restructuring organizations to achieve change,” Dudley was quoted as saying. “I did not seek out this job. I was asked to step into these shoes, and I firmly and deeply believe that BP is a company made up of great people and great businesses.”

Dudley is expected to work out of London and hand over spill response coordination to Lamar McKay, the chairman and president of BP America.

Dudley denied speculation that BP might pull back from the Gulf once the oil spill is stopped permanently, which could happen as soon as mid-August.”There’s no one thinking that way,” he told the Associated Press.

Hayward is slated to remain on BP’s board until Nov. 30. BP said it plans to recommend him for a non-executive board position at its Russian joint venture, TNK-BP.

Hayward is expected to receive a year’s salary of 1.045 million pounds ($1.6 million) as part of his severance package plus an annual pension of 600,000 pounds from a pension pot valued at around 11 million pounds, and he retains his rights to shares under a long-term performance program.

Hayward said it was right that BP embark on its next phase under new leadership, and expressed his condolences for the families of the workers killed in the explosion.

“The Gulf of Mexico explosion was a terrible tragedy for which – as the man in charge of BP when it happened – I will always feel a deep responsibility, regardless of where blame is ultimately found to lie,” he said.

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