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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 14:26 GMT
BP manager criticises leadership
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BP has run into some high-profile problems recently
An executive of energy giant BP has criticised the firm's management during an internal meeting, leaked documents have revealed.

Head of exploration Tony Hayward made the comments at a town hall meeting in Houston, BP confirmed to the BBC.

Mr Hayward said leadership does not listen enough to what "the bottom" says and that safety needed more work.

The remarks, put on the intranet by staff, comes with BP in the firing line over recent incidents affecting safety.

A blast in March 2005 at BP's Texas City refinery near Houston killed 15 people and injured 180.

And in the past year it had to close half its Alaskan oil field due to severe corrosion along its pipeline there.

'Too directive'

The internal remarks, first reported in the Financial Times newspaper, were confirmed by the oil giant.

"We have a leadership style that is too directive and doesn't listen sufficiently well," Mr Hayward, head of the firm's exploration and production arm, was quoted as saying.

"The top of the organisation doesn't listen sufficiently to what the bottom is saying."

The remarks come amid speculation over who will replace Lord Browne as the firm's chief executive, when he retires in 2008.

'Run into trouble'

BP, which made no attempt to deny the comments, said Mr Hayward's remarks about BP management echo what other executives at the firm have said before.

Moreover, Mr Hayward "clearly includes himself" in the statement said a BP spokesperson.

The front line operations teams, I think, have lived too long in the world of making do
Tony Hayward, chief executive exploration and production, BP

The comments were made to a "couple of hundred" employees, said the firm.

But what was posted on the intranet was not a memo - as the FT has said - but a staff posting, said BP.

Mr Hayward said "quite a lot of work" remains to be done for its plants, equipments and processes to meet safety standards.

"The front line operations teams, I think, have lived too long in the world of making do and patching this quarter for the next quarter, rather than really thinking about how we are going to maintain a piece of equipment for the next 30 or 40 years," said Mr Hayward.

Mr Hayward also said in a bid to cut costs, the firm's "mantra of 'more for less' ...needs to be deployed with great judgment and wisdom".

"When it isn't you run into trouble," he added.

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