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BP struggles for fresh start amid lingering woes

07-29-2010 11:16 BJT

LONDON/WASHINGTON, July 28 (Xinhua) -- BP Plc is making drastic moves, including replacing its gaffe-prone chief executive, to recover from the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill and rejuvenate its business.

Yet a crush of challenges remain before the battered British oil giant, as it scrambles to cover the costs related to the environmental catastrophe, repair its reputation, streamline its structure and deal with various probes and legal action.


In a widely anticipated move, BP decided to remove Tony Hayward from the helm, after his verbal miscues and controversial behavior in handling the massive leak irked the White House and infuriated the U.S. public.

Among his public relations gaffes, he once called the spill's impact "modest," grumbled about wanting to have his life back, and attended a yacht race off the coast of England while American residents were busy grappling with gooey blobs along the Gulf shores.

BP's whip will be handed over on October 1 to Bob Dudley, the first American to lead the company. He is currently in charge of the cleanup operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Placing safety among his highest priorities, Dudley has vowed to learn from the incident and to "change the culture" of how the company handles safety-related issues.

"We are taking a hard look at ourselves, what we do and how we do it... What we learn will have implications for our ways of working, our strategy and our governance," said BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, adding that BP "will be a different company going forward."

For its part, the White House stressed that, no matter who is in charge, BP has to perform its obligations and responsibilities in what is regarded as the biggest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

"Our concern is not who heads BP. The key is that BP can't leave and should not leave the Gulf... They have obligations and responsibilities as the responsible party in this instance that have to be met regardless of who the CEO is," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.

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