In a widely tipped move, BP confirmed chief executive Tony Hayward will step down on October 1, taking the fall for the disastrous Mexican Gulf oil spill that caused a net loss of $US17.15 billion in the three months to June 30.
BP has booked a pre-tax charge of $US32.2 billion, including the $US20 billion, and says it will sell up to $US30 billion in assets over the next 18 months to pay for it.
In another expected move, BP named Robert Dudley, who is heading the cleanup effort, will succeed Mr Hayward.
"It will be a different company going forward, requiring fresh leadership supported by robust governance and a very engaged board," chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said in a statement.
In a conference call with reporters, Mr Hayward acknowledged that he had become, "a lightning rod for public anger" over the spill and it was necessary to have a new face at the top of the company if BP is to move forward in the US.
"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," Mr Hayward said in a statement.
“We expect we will pay the substantial majority of the remaining direct spill response costs by the end of the year. Other costs are likely to be spread over a number of years, including any fines and penalties, longer-term remediation, compensation and litigation costs," he said.
BP's shares have plunged by more than half since the April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon well that killed 11 and triggered the worst oil spill in US history.
However, the share price has improved in recent weeks, rebounding by more than a third from the 14-year low they hit on June 29 while the leak was finally sealed on July 16.
Tue, 27 Jul 2010