Dudley, potential first American at head of BP

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The board of BP PLC is negotiating the departure of its embattled chief executive, Tony Hayward, according to people familiar with the matter, a bid by the U.K. oil titan to move beyond the Gulf of Mexico disaster that has undercut his three-year effort to remake the company.

The BP board is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss and approve Mr. Hayward’s departure, these people said, one describing the decision as “mutual.”

If that happens as expected, the board is set to name Managing Director Robert Dudley as the new chief executive on Tuesday, when it releases second quarter results.

The move would install the first American at the top of BP, a veteran insider who heads the company’s U.S. operations and hails from the region devastated by the oil spill. BP has chosen Mr. Dudley, who wasn’t viewed as the top CEO candidate until recently, ahead of refining chief Iain Conn, who many industry observers had tipped as Mr. Hayward’s most likely replacement. Analysts say the fact that Mr. Dudley is American helped his chances to lead the largest oil and gas company in the U.S.

Full story: Dudley Set to Succeed Hayward at BP –