BP's Dudley seen reigning for years to restore major's might

Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:10pm EDT
 
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By Dmitry Zhdannikov and Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) - When BP boss Bob Dudley clinched a final deal to settle litigation over the deadly Deepwater Horizon disaster, many oil industry executives and investors thought his mission was accomplished.

But now, two years later, the 61-year-old is showing no sign of easing into retirement. In fact he plans to oversee an ambitious expansion plan and stay at the helm of the British oil major until at least the end of the decade, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The American CEO has told his leadership team that it is in his family's tradition to not retire until 65 - which would take him to 2020 - and that he could perhaps work even longer than that, the sources said.

In another signal that there is unlikely to be a change at the top anytime soon, there has been no imminent succession planning at the firm, according to the sources, one of who said succession was "not a live project".

When Dudley finally decides to go, there will no shortage of candidates to take his place, however.

BP's chief financial officer, British national Brian Gilvary, 55 and the head of upstream, Irishman Bernard Looney, 46, have been cited as possible successors.

There has been persistent industry speculation about when Dudley will call time on his BP career since he struck the 2015 settlement deal under which the company agreed to pay out a total of about $60 billion over the disaster that left 11 dead and led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

He had been made CEO in 2010 - the first American to lead BP in its 108-year-old history - to steer the company through the swathe of U.S. litigation, and the deal represented a milestone.   Continued...

 
BP Chief Executive Robert Dudley speaks during a session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia, June 2, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin