Gulf Disaster

BP's Strategic American Pick for CEO

BP is pulling out all the stops to control damage from its oil spill—including strategically choosing their new head honcho. The oil giant is likely to announce the arrival of a new CEO tomorrow, taking disgraced Tony Hayward out of a role that he has fumbled in recent months. Hayward’s rumored successor, Bob Dudley, is managing director of the company and would be the first American to be CEO of the London-based oil giant. Analysts say the move is meant to shore up support in the States, now home to 40 percent of BP’s market and the source of even more potential growth. “There is a lot at stake in the U.S.,” said the director of a major energy institute, citing Dudley’s demonstrated strength in dealing with tough political environments—he once ran TNK-BP, the company’s joint venture with Russia. Dudley’s expertise is badly needed, too, with the backlash from the spill threatening to cut off vital contracts and drilling rights. BP's board, which must endorse Hayward's successor, is set to meet tomorrow.