Tony Hayward to be replaced by Robert Dudley

Despite Tony Hayward’s efforts to maintain the company’s good reputation, he will be replaced by Robert “Bob” Dudley as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of British Petroleum (BP), according to media reports. This shouldn’t be viewed as a surprise but rather as a PR move by BP.

Bob Dudley’s biography calls for such speculations. He was raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and lately worked as the Director of BP’s oil-spill response unit.

This is a perfect replacement in an effort to restore the company’s previous PR grounds: not only is he from the oil-spill area’s shores, he has also led the oil company’s efforts to put an end to the disaster. In other words, allegedly starting on October 1 (as an anonymous source told Bloomberg) when the replacement is expected to take place, BP will genuinely appear to have a CEO whose top priority is safety.

And Mr. Dudley is experienced too, so he doesn’t merely look like a better option than Tony Hayward – he also doesn’t appear to lack any advantage that Mr. Hayward has, including experience.

In fact, Robert Dudley has a thicker experience in the oil business – since 1979 when he joined Amoco who later merged with BP and since then he has always been with British Petroleum. That makes it roughly 31 years in the oil business compared to Tony Hayward’s 27 years, as he told the House Energy and Commerce committee which I covered for you earlier.

Meanwhile, Tony Hayward is expected to lose power within the company but enjoy comparatively high salary, benefits and pension –  £1m annually and £600,000 of pension in less than two years (after the 53-year Mr. Hayward reaches the age of 55), as BBC reported. BBC adds that several million pounds are expected to go to Tony Hayward’s account – out of a long-term shares performance scheme to which he retains rights.

Having all these factors in mind, Tony Hayward is in no position to  try to retain this particular leadership (being CEO) within BP – another proof that money talks in real life even more than power itself.

Neither BP, nor Tony Hayward should be condemned for this agreement. The former was generally more responsible for the disaster as I showed in bullets, while the latter not only did not violate the company’s bylaws but also defended its interests while following and respecting its bylaws: business as usual.

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