America

Who Is Bob Dudley? Or, The Man Who May Give Tony Hayward His Life Back

Bob Dudley, the BP executive who will replace CEO Tony Hayward i i

hide captionBob Dudley, the BP executive picked to replace CEO Tony Hayward, has spent most of his career in the oil industry abroad. He headed up BP's joint venture in Russia TNK-BP.

Cheryl Gerber/AP
Bob Dudley, the BP executive who will replace CEO Tony Hayward

Bob Dudley, the BP executive picked to replace CEO Tony Hayward, has spent most of his career in the oil industry abroad. He headed up BP's joint venture in Russia TNK-BP.

Cheryl Gerber/AP

Amid reports that BP CEO Tony Hayward — aloof, eager to "get [his] life back," spotted sailing in the English Channel as tar balls formed in the Gulf of Mexico — is on his way out, there is speculation that the energy company will pick Bob Dudley, its Mississippi-born managing director, to succeed him.

In a statement, BP said that it "notes the press speculation over the weekend regarding potential changes to management and the charge for the costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill."

BP confirms that no final decision has been made on these matters. A Board meeting is being held on Monday evening ahead of the announcement of the second quarter results on 27th July. Any decisions will be announced as appropriate.

A few weeks ago, NPR's Wade Goodwyn profiled Dudley, "the man picked to follow in the footsteps of CEO Tony Hayward," for All Things Considered.

Perhaps the most noticeable difference between the two executives is the way they talk. Hayward "sounds like he stepped out of the House of Lords." Dudley has a southern drawl.

Along the Gulf Coast, that's something. But not everything.

"While Dudley doesn't have to worry about his Southern credentials being revoked if too much oil washes ashore in Louisiana or Florida, this assignment will be no picnic either," Goodwyn said.

Dudley spent several years abroad, heading TNK-BP, a "vertically integrated oil company operating primarily in the western half of Russia," but he has Southern bonafides, including a master's degree from Southern Methodist University, in Dallas.

After Dudley took over as BP's point man for spill response, Rep. Charlie Melancon (D-LA) told Goodwyn that, when it comes down to it, Gulf Coast residents really only care about one thing:

"There is nothing that he can do, short of plugging that hole, that will make him any better person in terms of being able to accomplish the task at hand."

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