Dudley takes over Gulf spill management 'immediately': BP
BP chief executive Tony Hayward has handed over management of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill to another senior manager, Bob Dudley, "effective immediately," the firm said Wednesday.
Dudley, a US national and managing director of the British oil giant, has a "deep appreciation and affinity for the Gulf Coast" having grown up in Mississippi, Hayward said.
"Effective immediately, Bob Dudley has been appointed president and Chief Executive Officer of BP's Gulf Coast Restoration Organization," said a BP statement, adding that Dudley would report to Hayward.
"The new organization will manage all aspects of the response to the Deepwater Horizon incident and the oil and gas spill in the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that BP fulfils its promises to the people of the Gulf Coast and continues its work to restore the region's environment," it said.
BP announced the appointment of Dudley earlier this month as head of BP's new disaster management unit, but did not specify a precise timetable for transferring responsibilies.
On Friday, BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said Hayward -- whose PR gaffs made him a lightning rod for American anger at BP -- was in the process of handing over authority, although spokesman gave no further details.
Hayward said Wednesday that responding to the spill "continues to be BP's highest priority," adding: "Our commitment to the Gulf States is for the long-term. And that requires a more permanent sustainable organization to see it through."
"Having grown up in Mississippi, Bob has a deep appreciation and affinity for the Gulf Coast, and believes deeply in BP's commitment to restore the region," he added.
Dudley himself added that his initial focus "will be on listening to stakeholders, so we can address concerns and remove obstacles that get in the way of our effectiveness.
"And we'll build an organization that over the longer term fulfils BP's commitments to the restore the livelihoods and the environment of the Gulf Coast."
British Prime Minister David Cameron meanwhile said he had underlined the need for BP to remain a "strong and stable" company in two recent telephone conversations with US President Barack Obama.
"We do want to make sure that this remains a strong and stable company, for our benefit but also for the benefit of the United States," he said, when asked about the issue at his weekly grilling in the House of Commons.
He said 40 percent of BP shareholders are in the United States, and that more people are employed by BP in the US than in Britain. "It's in all our interests that this company is strong and secure for the future," he said.
Obama and Cameron are expected to discuss the issue Saturday when they hold talks on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Toronto, their first face-to-face meeting since Cameron took power last month.
© 2010 AFP