BP CEO Tony Hayward Steps Down From Gulf Oil Spill Oversight

Tony HaywardIt looks like BP (BP) CEO Tony Hayward will be getting his life back after all.

One day after he was grilled by Congress, the embattled oil executive will step down from day-to-day oversight over the Gulf oil spill, BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said Friday.

Svanberg told Britain's Sky News that BP managing director Bob Dudley will take over management of the worst oil spill in U.S. history. He said that Hayward's performance -- which has been mired by repeated public gaffes -- had compounded BP's woes.

"It is clear Tony has made remarks that have upset people," Svanberg told Sky News.

Evasive Testimony

On Thursday, Hayward delivered vague and evasive testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in which he insisted he "wasn't involved" with the decisions leading up to Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion and thus "can't pass judgment on those decisions."

Svanberg said that Hayward's operational performance stopping the leak has been wanting. "Everyone thought it would be done faster," Svanberg said.

Two months after BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded, killing 11 workers and injuring 17 others, millions of gallons of oil continue to spew into the Gulf of Mexico

Confidence in BP's Future

Svanberg also said that he will now be taking a more prominent role in an attempt to burnish the battered oil company's image. "This has now turned into a reputation matter -- financial and political -- and that is why you will now see more of me," Svanberg said. "As this is now turning to a different type of crisis, that is where I come in."

In the Sky News interview, Svanberg acknowledged that "America is frustrated. The fisherman, the people living on the Gulf Coast are frustrated."

Svanberg declined to say whether there would be a more substantial management change -- including Hayward's removal as CEO. Svanberg expressed confidence that the oil company would survive the crisis.

"I still strongly believe in BP and that we will come through this," he said.
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