Tony Hayward is the chief executive officer of British Petroleum, one of the largest oil and energy companies in the world.
An employee since 1982, Hayward became CEO of BP in May 2007 following John Browne's resignation. He began his work in BP as a rig geologist in Aberdeen, moving up to the position of BP exploration manager, exploration president, and finally VP and then CEO of Exploration and Production. While Browne was criticized for his spending habits and misuse of company resources, Hayward was lauded for his support of better safety measures and benefits for BP employees.
On April 20th, 2010, Hayward's positive reputation in the company took a sharp plunge. A rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 workers on board and leaking tons of oil into the Gulf and the surrounding region. The spill is the largest and most devastating recorded oil spill in history. Hayward's assessment of the spill as "very very modest," and calling it relatively tiny in comparison to the rest of the ocean, has garnered worldwide criticism towards both BP and the oil industry as a whole.
Hayward has since apologized for his statements and now characterizes the spill as a "catastrophe." He has put more than $1 billion of BP money towards clean-up and animal and wildlife rescue, yet many of the company’s rescue initiatives have been unsuccessful.
On July 27, 2010, BP announced that Hayward would be replaced. An American, Robert Dudley, will become the new CEO as of October 1, 2010. Hayward was expected to be offered a non-executive job at BP's Russian joint venture.
— Text by Jessica Leader