Rumors have swirled for weeks that BP was finally going to toss tone-deaf CEO Tony Hayward under the proverbial gas-guzzling bus, and despite numerous denials from the embattled oil giant, it looks like Hayward is finally getting his life back. The Wall Street Journal reports that Robert Dudley, an American oil executive who has been running BP’s Gulf Coast Restoration Organization, will replace Hayward, and ABC speculates that today could be Hayward's last day.
If true, Dudley would be the first American to head BP. The company's board is meeting today, one day ahead of its announcement of second-quarter earnings. Dudley has been running BP's daily operations for more than a month, and is regarded as a "veteran insider." We were kinda hoping he'd be a radical outsider, but oh well. If Hayward steps down, he'd return to life with a generous compensation package; his salary and pension are worth a reported $18 million.
Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who has been a dogged critic of BP's handling of the spill, said in a statement, "While it's now happy sailing for Tony Hayward, rough conditions will persist in the Gulf of Mexico for years to come because of his failed leadership. On Friday, I received yet another reminder of Hayward's aloof, uninformed leadership, when his own company corrected his Congressional testimony—saying that, contrary to Hayward's assertion to Congress, the drilling mud used by the company during the failed top kill procedure contained toxic material."
Contradicting Hayward, BP subsequently admitted that the mud contains ethylene glycol (a highly toxic chemical used in anti-freeze), as well as caustic soda (a highly corrosive chemical commonly known as lye).