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BP Finalizes Leadership Shakeup, Replacing Hayward With Dudley

July 27, 2010 at 12:00 AM EDT

GWEN IFILL: Next: big moves at BP, and what it could mean for the company and its future in America.

Ninety-nine days after oil began gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, BP today announced change at the top. CEO Tony Hayward will step down October 1. In a statement, Hayward said the company’s response to the spill was “a model of good social corporate responsibility,” but he also called the accident itself “a terrible tragedy for which, as the man in charge of BP when its happened, I will always feel a deep responsibility, regardless of where blame is ultimately found to lie.”

Hayward gets a year’s salary, $1.6 million, plus millions more in pension payouts, and a new position with BP’s joint venture in Russia.

But chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg insisted it’s not a golden parachute.

CARL-HENRIC SVANBERG, chairman, BP: He’s accumulated this pension over — that’s the big money — he has accumulated his pension over almost 30 years, like any other employee.

GWEN IFILL: Hayward also accumulated heavy criticism with statements like these in the early days of the spill.

TONY HAYWARD, CEO, BP: I would like my life back.

The environmental of this disaster is likely to have been very, very modest.

GWEN IFILL: Last month, he was recalled to London headquarters and replaced in the Gulf by American Bob Dudley, who now takes over as CEO.

ROBERT DUDLEY, president and CEO, BP Gulf Coast Restoration Organization: I think we can always do a lot better. Everybody can do a little bit better here.

GWEN IFILL: Dudley is originally from Mississippi and is the first non-Briton to become chief executive at BP. He spoke in London this morning, alongside Hayward and Svanberg. The spill, he said, has been a wakeup call for the entire industry.

ROBERT DUDLEY: Well, there’s no question we’re going to learn a lot from this accident in the Gulf Coast. It’s going to be about equipment, people, different companies. And, as a result of that, we’re going to learn a lot, both BP and the industry.

GWEN IFILL: Dudley also faces the challenge of repairing the battered oil giant’s image, especially in the United States. As part of the company shakeup, Dudley will oversee the sale of $30 billion in assets over the next 18 months. The disaster in the Gulf has cost the company at least $32 billion in cleanup and compensation so far, but it’s also writing off those costs against its U.S. taxes.

BP announced today a $17 billion loss for the second quarter. The cleanup continues in the Gulf, where BP crews are expected to try next week to plug the ruptured well once and for all.