[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 12 January 2007, 17:53 GMT
BP's Browne to stand down in July
Lord Browne

BP chief executive Lord Browne will step down at the end of July, after 12 years at the helm.

He will be succeeded in the top job by Tony Hayward, who is currently head of exploration and production at BP.

Lord Browne had said he would retire at the end of 2008, but will now leave 18 months ahead of schedule.

BP chairman Peter Sutherland described the out-going chief executive as "the greatest British businessman of his generation".

"His vision, intellect, leadership and skill have been a wonder to behold and he will be a difficult act to follow," he said.

'Privilege'

The decision to announce Lord Browne's successor and move forward the starting date of the new boss would provide "an orderly transition", Mr Sutherland said.

Tony Hayward

He added that Mr Hayward had "an excellent track record and extensive knowledge of the sector".

BP shares climbed 1.8% on Friday after the announcement of the succession, as investors welcomed some certainty about the company's future leadership.

Lord Browne of Madingley, to give him his full title, joined BP as an apprentice in 1966.

He was made chief executive of BP in 1995, and last year earned 3.3m plus pension payments.

Tricky times

In time at the helm, he has regularly been voted the most impressive businessman by fellow UK bosses.

"It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to turn BP into an international company at the forefront of the energy industry," Lord Browne said.

However, he added: "We clearly have important issues still to deal with, which I am determined to address."

Since Lord Browne was made chief executive of BP, the company's market capitalisation has increased five-fold to 104.6bn. Analysts expect profits for 2006 to hit 11.6bn.

But while earnings soar, the oil giant has not been without problems.

Its safety measures have been criticised after a blast in March 2005 at its Texas City refinery near Houston killed 15 people and injured 180.

March last year saw 270,000 gallons of crude leak into Alaska's Prudhoe Bay in an oil spill.

And in August, BP had to close half its Alaskan oil field due to severe corrosion along its pipeline there.


SEE ALSO
BP manager criticises leadership
18 Dec 06 |  Business
BP 'should face US civil action'
14 Dec 06 |  Business
Daughter settles with BP on blast
09 Nov 06 |  Business
BP 'knew of Texas safety worries'
01 Nov 06 |  Business
Tony Hayward - BP's new boss
12 Jan 07 |  Business
Profile: Lord Browne
12 Jan 07 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific