Robert Dudley is the new Chief Executive Officer of British Petroleum as of October 1st, 2010. On July 27th, BP announced that the current CEO, Tony Hayward, will be resigning from the position following backlash from the Gulf oil spill catastrophe in April.
Dudley will be the first non-British leader of the UK-based company.
Read more about 'Bob Dudley'
Born in 1956 in New York, Dudley was raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He received a degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Illinois, and went on to get his Masters in International Management from the Thunderbird School of Global Management, and an MBA from Southern Methodist University.
Dudley first became involved with the oil industry when he joined Amoco, his employer for nearly two decades until the Amoco-BP merger in 1998. At that time, he started work under various BP divisions. He was placed in corporate, operational, and commercial roles. Dudley was specifically involved in BP’s solar, wind, and hydrogen energy ventures, acting as vice president for BP's Renewables and Alternative Energy activities within the Gas, Power & Renewables division.
In 2003, Dudley was named president and CEO of TNK-BP, the British Petroleum venture which became Russia’s third largest oil and gas company.
After his successful work in TNK-BP, Dudley was named to the BP board in April 2009. He became the managing director of the BP Group, overseeing all the company's activities in the Americas and Asia.
Due to criticism of his treatment of the Gulf oil disaster, Hayward announced his resignation as CEO of BP, while the company put out a press release stating that Dudley would be taking over the position. In addition to a severance package and pension plan, the BP board plans to nominate Hayward for a non-executive director position in TNK-BP, Dudley’s former division.
Media analysts believe that Dudley’s nomination as CEO of BP is an attempt to salvage the oil company’s tarnished reputation, specifically in North America. In addition to being the first non-British CEO, it seems that BP is hoping that Dudley’s Gulf coast upbringing will create close bonds with the civilians affected by the oil spill, as well as garner international sympathy.
When announcing his resignation from the position of CEO, Tony Hayward stated “BP will be a changed company . . . and it is right that it should embark on its next phase under new leadership.“
Dudley currently lives in London with his wife, Mary. They have two children.
(Text by Jessica Leader)
Photo: ZUMA Press