BP confirms Hayward departure

Global energy producer BP has confirmed that CEO, Tony Hayward, will step down on October 1 this year, to be replaced by former TNK-BP head Robert Dudley, with Hayward to be nominated as non executive director of TNK-BP.

The long expected announcement was confirmed in a press release from BP on Tuesday, with BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg acknowledging that the Transocean Macondo well disaster is a watershed for the company requiring change at the top.

"The BP board is deeply saddened to lose a CEO whose success over some three years in driving the performance of the company was so widely and deservedly admired.

The tragedy of the Macondo well explosion and subsequent environmental damage has been a watershed incident. BP remains a strong business with fine assets, excellent people and a vital role to play in meeting the world's energy needs. But it will be a different company going forward, requiring fresh leadership supported by robust governance and a very engaged board.”

The ascent of Robert Dudley to the CEO position of BP, marks the first time that an American has headed the company formerly known as British Petroleum. He is currently running the cleanup and compensation programmes in the Gulf of Mexico resulting from the Transoean Macondo well disaster. Dudley has extensive experience in the Russian oil industry, first as Head of Amoco’s Russian operations in the 1990s, and then later as Head of BP’s Russian joint venture TNK-BP, after BP took over Amoco, until 2008. In a statement Dudley paid tribute to his predecessor.

"I am honoured to be given the job of rebuilding BP's strengths and reputation but sad at the circumstances. I have the greatest admiration for Tony, both for the job he has done since he became CEO in 2007 and for his unremitting dedication to dealing with the Gulf of Mexico disaster."

Tony Hayward will remain on the BP board until November 30, 2010 with BP also planning to nominate him as a non-executive director of TNK-BP. He said that the Transocean Macondo disaster had made the time right for him to move on

"I believe the decision I have reached with the board to step down is consistent with the responsibility BP has shown throughout these terrible events. BP will be a changed company as a result of Macondo and it is right that it should embark on its next phase under new leadership."

IFC Metropol oil and gas analyst says Robert Dudley’s track record in Russia with TNK-BP makes him an ideal candidate for the top BP position.

“I think Mr Dudley is one of the best persons to head BP at the moment. He had a history as successful manager of a huge company, I mean TNK-BP, in extremely tough conditions, in Russia, that BP probably needs right now. Also Mr Dudley made from TNK-BP, a pretty old style soviet oil company, he made it one of the best in Russia, both in upstream and downstream. Just look at the marketing success of BP brand in the retail market of the largest region of Russia, in Moscow. BP retail stations are probably one of the most popular in Moscow. So the share of the retail market for TNK-BP is actually more than a quarter – so it says something.”