Robert Dudley replaces Tony Hayward as BP chief executive

BP today said that Tony Hayward will step down as group chief executive with effect from 1 October 2010 and will be succeeded by executive director Robert Dudley.

At yesterday's board meeting, BP also decided to set aside $32.2 billion and sell off assets worth $30 billion to cover the costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

The $32.2 billion includes the $20 billion already set aside by BP in an escrow account for clean up costs and compensation claims.

The London-based oil major reported a net loss of $17.2 billion for the second-quarter compared with a profit of $4.39 billion for the same period last year.

BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said, "The BP board is deeply saddened to lose a CEO whose success over some three years in driving the performance of the company was so widely and deservedly admired.

"The tragedy of the Macondo well explosion and subsequent environmental damage has been a watershed incident. BP remains a strong business with fine assets, excellent people and a vital role to play in meeting the world's energy needs. But it will be a different company going forward, requiring fresh leadership supported by robust governance and a very engaged board.

"We are highly fortunate to have a successor of the calibre of Bob Dudley who has spent his working life in the oil industry both in the US and overseas and has proved himself a robust operator in the toughest circumstances," Svanberg said.

Robert (Bob) Dudley is a main board director of BP and currently runs the recently-established unit responsible for clean-up operations and compensation programmes in the Gulf of Mexico. He joined BP from Amoco after the merger of the two companies in 1998. He was president and CEO of BP's Russian joint venture, TNK-BP, until 2008.