BP CEO, Tony Hayward has decided to step down after much scrutiny and pressure from his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Hayward, who is 54 years old, has defended his response efforts with the oil spill but has acknowledged that it was best for him to leave “for the good of BP”. Robert Dudley is being welcomed as the new chief executive of BP and will take over Hayward’s position on Oct. 1, in an effort to regroup and solve the future of the company after this environmental incident.
Deeply saddened by his exit, Hayward stated in a conference call to reporters that “I’ve spent my entire professional career at BP. I love the company and everything it stands for.” Hayward has experienced several hardships as the face of BP, including a mauling before Congress, threats made to his family at their home in the U.K., and harsh criticisms for his weekend yachting trip as the oil spill was still unresolved.
The soon to be successor, Robert Dudley has been serving as the head of BP’s Russian joint venture TNK-BP Ltd. for the past five years, but was forced out of the country in 2008 because of a public spat over the control of the venture between Russian billionaires and BP, which is a 50-50 joint venture. Dudley, an American who grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, might prove to be a great asset to BP through nationality being that 40 percent of BP shareholders live in the United States and that BP is the largest producer of oil in the U.S. His experience negotiating projects in the South China Sea and in Russia while working for Amoco (formerly known as Standard Oil Co. of Indiana), will prove to be of great importance as he takes on the intense pressure of this environmental catastrophe. Being an American who can empathize with the problems BP has caused might alleviate the harsh feelings Americans have had with the company.
As Tony Hayward steps out, he will continue to work for BP as a member of TNK-BP’s board. The switching of roles might prove to be a great decision on BP’s part, but time will only tell.