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June 18, 2010

BP sidelines Hayward in handling of spill crisis

BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg has told Jeff Randall of Britain's Sky News that CEO Tony Hayward is to have a changed role in dealing with the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Mr Svanberg said Hayward: "is now handing over the operation to Bob Dudley."

Robert Dudley has been the managing director of the oil giant since 2009. Prior to that he was president and chief executive of TNK-BP, Russia's third largest oil and gas company, in which BP is a partner.

Though the Sky News report does not mention it, Mr. Dudley is an American who joined Amoco Corporation in 1979 and remained with it until its merger with BP in 1998. At that time he was general manager for strategy for Amoco and following the merger was appointed to a similar role in BP in 1999. BP's image managers may well feel that an American face and voice will play better than Mr. Hayward with the American public and politicians

Mr Svanberg, whose background is in telecommunications, will now expand his own involvement in handling the crisis caused by the spill.

"This has now turned into a reputation matter, a financial squeeze for BP and a political matter and that is why you will now see more of me," Mr Svanberg told Sky News.


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