0

BP taps new American CEO

Photo by STR

Photo by STR

NEW ORLEANS -- The American picked to lead oil giant BP as it struggles to restore its finances and oil spill-stained reputation pledged Tuesday that his company will remain committed to the Gulf region even after the busted well is sealed.

Robert Dudley will become BP PLC's first non-British chief executive, the company said as it reported a record quarterly $17 billion loss and set aside $32.2 billion to cover costs from the spill.

BP ended weeks of speculation by confirming that gaffe-prone Tony Hayward will step down Oct. 1. The London-based company is seeking to reassure both the public and investors that it is learning lessons from the April 20 oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and set off the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

''We are taking a hard look at ourselves, what we do and how we do it,'' BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told investors during a webcast presentation on the company's earnings. ''What we learn will have implications for our ways of working, our strategy and our governance.''

Svanberg said the company's priority was to stop the Gulf leak permanently and then to clean up miles of spoiled waters and beaches and compensate people whose livelihoods have been lost because of the accident.