BP PLC says Tony Hayward will step down as chief executive officer from Oct. 1, to be succeeded by American Robert Dudley.
In a statement accompanying its earnings update on Tuesday, BP says the decision was made by “mutual agreement.”
BP also reports it has taken a pretax charge of $32.2 billion for the Gulf of Mexico spill, and plans to sell assets for up to $30 billion over the next 18 months.
The company says Dudley will be based in London when he takes up his appointment and will hand over his present duties in the United States to Lamar McKay – the chairman and president of BP America.
Hayward will remain on the board until Nov. 30 and BP plans to nominate him as a non-executive director of its Russian joint venture TNK-BP.
Oil spill legal mess likely one of costliest ever
BP PLC and the other companies involved in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill face fast-multiplying lawsuits likely to spark one of the most drawn-out and expensive legal battles in U.S. history.
Legal experts say the fight could easily consume the $20 billion BP set aside for the disaster.
One veteran of complex lawsuits says that unless there is a quick settlement that satisfies all sides, it could be 2015 before trials begin and at least 2028 before appeals and other issues are fully resolved. The lawyer, Lela Hollabaugh of Nashville, says it took 20 years to complete all claims from the Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska.
So far, at least 300 federal lawsuits have been filed in 12 states against BP and the other three main companies involved.