American May Replace BP Chief

NEW YORK -- The board of BP was expected Monday to name Robert Dudley as its new chief executive, replacing Tony Hayward, who alienated the public and officials during the three-month oil spill in the Gulf Coast, according to a number of reports.

The appointment of an American to run the London-based company would spotlight how important the country has become to BP. Approximately one-third of BP’s oil and gas wells, refineries and other business interests are in the United States, and 40 percent of its shareholders are Americans, The New York Times reported.

“It is in the best interest of the company to go forward with fresh leadership,” a person close to BP’s board told the newspaper.

Dudley, who grew up in Mississippi and spent summers on the Gulf, has oversaw BP’s response to the spill for the last month.

Kenneth Feinberg, the independent administrator managing the $20 billion claims fund BP set up under pressure from the White House, told the newspaper Dudley is “cool, calm, collected. He is proactive. He reached out to me and expressed the desire for BP to be as responsive and cooperative as possible.”

According to the plan being presented to the board, Dudley would ascend to the top job Oct. 1, allowing for a transition period, the newspaper reported. “He is basically a guy with a clean slate,” oil analyst Fadel Gheit told the Times.

Dudley joined Amoco in 1979. Before running TNK-BP, he was responsible for BP’s production and exploration business in Russia, the Caspian region, Angola, Algeria and Egypt, the newspaper reported. Earlier he ran BP’s renewable-energy business. He was appointed to BP’s board in 2009.

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