BP’s Hayward to Get His Life Back on October 1st

Yesterday, BP’s board of directors gave Tony Hayward his life back. On October 1, Hayward will step down from his post as CEO of the oil giant, and be replaced by American Bob Dudley. Dudley has been overseeing the company’s response to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Since the April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, Hayward has been criticized for a series of insensitive remarks. Just six weeks after the blast that killed 11 men, Hayward commented to a reporter that ‘I would like my life back.’ He also appeared to minimize the disaster, saying at one point that the spill was ‘relatively tiny’ compared with the ‘very big ocean’.

Hayward also didn’t help his own cause much when he was spent a day at a yacht race in June, during the height of the disaster.

BP’s board met yesterday to discuss Hayward’s fate, and it was widely speculated that he was out. The official announcement came this morning. The 53-year-old Hayward will stay on the BP board until November 30. BP also plans to nominate him as a non-executive director of TNK-BP, the company’s Russian joint venture.

His removal from the CEO post won’t leave Hayward in the same dire economic straits that so many Gulf of Mexico fishermen have found themselves in since the BP oil spill took away their livelihoods. When he leaves, Hayward will receive a payoff of more than $1.6 million. He’ll also be entitled to draw an annual pension of 600,000 pounds ($928,000).

So far the oil spill has costs BP in the neighborhood of $32 billion.

Meanwhile, the cleanup in the Gulf continues. Efforts were resumed Monday, after a four day suspension because of Tropical Storm Bonnie. A containment cap placed over the leaking well earlier this month continues to hold, and officials said yesterday that a new effort to permanently staunch the gusher could be attempted as early as Sunday. That procedure, called a “static kill” would involve dumping heavy mud into the newly capped well to force oil and gas back down into the reservoir.

Work has also resumed on two relief wells, which are considered to be the best chance at ending the spill. The disruption caused by Bonnie has delayed their completion by about a week, and the first is now expected to be finished by mid-August.

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