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BP 'set to replace' CEO Hayward
Chief executive could be moved to a new job with a pay-off worth about $18.5m.
Last Modified: 27 Jul 2010 04:34 GMT
Tony Hayward could leave with a total pay-off and pension package worth around $18.5m [Reuters]

BP is expected to replace Tony Hayward, its British chief executive officer, with an American manager as the company looks to reshape its image after the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

The energy company was expected to announce its decision on Tuesday morning, when it releases details of second quarter financial earnings.

Hayward is reportedly leaving with a total pay-off and pension package worth around $18.5m and Britain's Sky News television, citing sources, said Hayward was likely to be proposed for a non-executive role on the board of TNK-BP, a joint venture in Russia.

Robert Dudley, the US executive manager in charge of the oil spill clean up, is poised to take over for Hayward, analysts and sources close to the company say.

BP is also expected to announce losses for the last three months. 

UK media reported that the energy giant met on Monday to discuss whether Hayward should resign, but BP declined to release any details.

US replacement

The controversy surrounding Hayward comes from BP's damaged oil well on the seabed of the Gulf of Mexico. After a rig explosion in April that killed 11 workers, the destroyed wellhead gushed millions of barrels into the Gulf, affecting coastlines and wildlife.

BP capped the leaking well last week after a series of failed attempts to stem the leak over the last three month.

in depth

Hayward has been criticised for a string of public relations gaffes during the crisis, included telling reporters "I want my life back".

Dave Kansas, the Wall Street Journal's European markets editor in London, told Al Jazeera that Bob Dudley, BP's managing director, was tipped to take over the job of chief executive.

"He [Dudley] grew up on the Gulf coast in Mississippi ... he's received high praise from some of the government officials around the BP situation already even though he hasn't taken the job," he said.

"The PR piece of this looks like it's probably sliding into a place that BP would like."

He said that having an American take the chief executive slot was also important for the company.

'Refining the operation'

The news of Hayward's likely departure came as US officials said that BP would finish installing the last bit of pipe into a relief well engineered to help permanently plug its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the coming week.

Once the pipe is cemented in place, BP will begin the "static kill" sealing process in the first week of August, Thad Allen, who is heading the US government's response to the spill, said on Sunday.

Allen had previously said that the "static kill" technique could start in three to five days after the pipe was fully installed.

But he said on Sunday that the timeline for the operation had been "refined" to be more conservative after consulting with BP.

He also said Tropical Storm Bonnie, which had prompted many ships to evacuate the spill site and delayed work on the relief well off Louisiana's coast, could push back BP's mid-August target date for completing the plugging process by seven to nine days although the vessels returned to the site.

The operation aims to seal the well by pumping heavy drilling mud through the blowout preventer valve system that sits on top of the well and then injecting cement inside to seal it.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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