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BP Chief Executive Tony Hayward May Quit Within Two Days, Telegraph Says

BP Plc Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward may resign within the next two days as the U.K. oil company prepares to publish its first-half results, the Sunday Telegraph reported.

Detailed negotiations over Hayward’s severance package have taken place this weekend, the newspaper said, without saying where it got the information. The company’s board is scheduled to meet tomorrow before BP publishes its results on July 27, the Sunday Telegraph said.

BP, based in London, is likely to make an announcement regarding Hayward within the next 24 hours, British Broadcasting Corp. Business Editor Robert Peston said on BBC News 24 today.

Hayward “has the confidence of the board” and it’s normal practice to hold board meetings the day before results are published, BP spokesman Toby Odone said by mobile phone today. He declined to comment on whether Hayward’s position would be discussed at the meeting.

Hayward has faced public anger in the U.S. and criticism from lawmakers over his handling of an oil spill that was triggered by an April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig, which killed 11 people. While the well has now been sealed, BP plans to permanently plug it with cement next month. The U.K. oil company’s market value lost 48 billion pounds ($74 billion) as it battled to stop the biggest crude spill in U.S. history.

Robert Dudley, director of BP’s oil spill response unit, is the most likely candidate to succeed Hayward, the Sunday Telegraph said. BP on June 23 appointed Dudley, a Mississippian, to manage its response to the explosion.

‘Very Big Ocean’

While seeking to contain public outrage over the environmental damage, Hayward made several gaffes, including saying he wanted his “life back” and calling the spill “relatively tiny” in a “very big ocean.” The well spewed 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil a day from a mile-deep in the water, according to a U.S. government-led panel of scientists.

The New York Daily News said he was “the most hated -- and clueless -- man in America.” U.S. President Barack Obama said he would have fired Hayward, while White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said on ABC in June that “Tony Hayward isn’t going to have a second career in PR consulting” and criticized the ex-CEO for taking a yachting trip.

To contact the reporter on this story: Catherine Airlie in London at cairlie@bloomberg.net

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