'No final decision' over BP chief
Published 26/07/2010 | 09:23
BP has said that "no final decision" had been taken over the departure of under-fire chief executive Tony Hayward and the size of the losses racked up by the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
Mr Hayward has led the firm since 2007 but has committed a string of PR blunders since the crisis began in April and has been reportedly negotiating his departure.
The oil giant added that its board is meeting ahead of the company's second-quarter results on Tuesday - potentially sealing Mr Hayward's fate.
BP said any decisions following the meeting would be "announced as appropriate".
But Mr Hayward is likely to be replaced by fellow board member and US citizen Bob Dudley - who is now in charge of the day-to-day response to the oil spill.
Since the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank on April 20 with the loss of 11 workers, Mr Hayward has raised hackles with a series of blunders - including claiming he "wanted his life back", going sailing, and giving an evasive performance before US senators in June.
President Barack Obama said then that Mr Hayward should have been sacked - although BP later cooled the political heat by agreeing to set up a $20bn (€15.5) compensation fund.
The terms of his departure from the €1.2 million-a-year post are not yet known, although he will leave with a pension pot worth €13m.
Results on Tuesday are likely to show the oil giant's first quarterly loss since 1992 due to the catastrophe, which should comfortably wipe out expected underlying profits of around $5bn (€3.86bn).
The firm has axed its dividend for the first time since the Second World War - hitting pension funds in the UK and US - and selling off assets to help meet the cost of the clean-up. Later, the firm is certain to face fines running into billions of dollars.
BP has resumed efforts to cut off the leaking well with a relief well after being forced to suspend operations due to a tropical storm. The leak has been capped but the relief well - due to be completed early next month - will cut off the flow of oil permanently by intercepting the well miles below the seabed.