BP, confirming yesterday's speculation
about Tony Hayward's ouster, has named
Robert Dudley the next chief executive as of October, sending the soon-to-be-former CEO off to projects in Russia. This morning's BP commentary
focuses on the significance of the pick, and whether Dudley can reverse the oil behemoth's fortunes. Opinions are mixed.
- An American, a Gulf Coast Native Marketplace
coverage notes that Dudley, the first American to head BP, also grew up
on the Gulf Coast, perhaps making him a slightly more sympathetic
figure than his predecessor in the eyes of Americans.
- Which Says Something About BP Strategy The choice, argues a San Francisco Chronicle
editorial, "shows how important BP's U.S. operations are to the whole
company--about a third of its oil and gas wells and other business
interests are in the United States." The pick also suggests "that BP
expects the gulf oil disaster to dominate the company's fortunes for
many years to come. In choosing Dudley, who's not only American but
known for having better political skills than Hayward, it's clear that
BP wants to convince the U.S. government that it can be trusted." The
Chronicle isn't convinced, though: "playing musical chairs at the top
won't solve BP's problems."
- A Meaningless Switch Rick Outzen
at The Daily Beast takes the angle that BP credibility is destroyed,
for the moment, beyond the point where a CEO-swap can make a
difference: Gulf Coasters will find it "hard ... [to] take anything BP
says seriously," after all the lines they've been fed that proved to be empty
- But Investors Like It 24/7 Daily Finance observes that, as BP reported a loss for the last quarter and announced Dudley's October takeover, BP shares went up.
the Reign of Dudley: A Culture 'Overhaul' at BP The Mississippi-raised
new executive is known for a rather spectacular end to his assignment
in Russia, from which he more or less fled, admits Peter Cohan
at Daily Finance. But Cohan thinks that was more a matter of Russian
businessmen carefully exploiting their native legal system. Cohan talks
to a source who worked with Dudley during that time, and comes to the
conclusion that the Dudley pick "signals a desire for a thorough
overhaul of BP's culture," which he calls "extremely difficult" but
"possible." Here's the explanation:
A source ... recently told
me that BP's board selected Dudley to replace Hayward as the face of
BP's Gulf cleanup effort because he's seen as capable of helping BP
solve both the short-term problem of getting the leak stopped and the
long-term project of transforming the corporate culture.
source says BP has for too long put an emphasis on cost-cutting at the
expense of safety--despite BP's claims to the contrary. The source says
Dudley's straight-arrow mindset is an outlier within the BP culture,
which is why he was picked to to run such side projects as TNK-BP.
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