Chief Executive Of BP Expected To Step Down

One veteran of the company advised Hayward to keep his head down, saying, "There's no sense being Napoleon unless you can be certain of victory. "Hayward went anyway. In the end, it was a battle he couldn't win, but one he couldn't avoid, either. The oil spill has inflicted severe damage on the gulf, financial blows to BP and mortal wounds to Hayward's career. On Monday, BP's board is expected to announce that Hayward, 53, will step down on Oct. 1. The departure, say people close to the company, will be his decision as much as the board's. Hayward, a geologist who has spent his entire career working for BP, is said to recognize that he has become a liability as the company tries to move forward. The board will probably turn to Robert Dudley, who grew up in Mississippi and who joined BP from Amoco after the two firms merged. Dudley would be the first American to run the company once known as British Petroleum. The company issued a statement Monday saying that "no final decision has been made on these matters," and adding that "any decisions will be announced as appropriate" following a board meeting to be held in London Monday evening (midday Washington time). No announcement is expected before Tuesday morning, London time. A person familiar with the matter told the Associated Press that Hayward will be offered a job with the company's joint venture in Russia, TNK-BP. BP owns half of the oil firm. Hayward lost the real battle at BP long before the April 20 rig explosion: the battle to change the oil giant's corporate culture and improve safety. In 2005, two years before he became chief executive, cost cuts and sloppy procedures led to an explosion at BP's Texas City refinery, killing 15 people. The Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board's lead investigator blamed a "history of budget cuts and underfunding." Lax maintenance also led to pipeline leaks in Alaska's North Slope.