BP boss calms Russian fears

TONY HAYWARD, the embattled BP chief executive, yesterday launched a campaign to reassure top Russian officials of the group’s stability.

Hayward, who met with government figures, is on a charm offensive to reassure the Kremlin over BP’s local operations.

A number of concerns have been expressed by the country’s government over the future of the company. Last week, the Russian ambassador to Britain said the country needed reassurances that the firm would remain strong.

Over a quarter of the group’s oil output comes from its Russian joint venture TNK-BP, making it the second most important location after the US.

But yesterday, Russia’s deputy Prime Minister and energy official, Igor Sechin, was the latest to say he expects Hayward to resign over the disaster in the Gulf.

“We know that Tony Hayward is leaving his position and he will introduce his successor,” said Sechin.
A spokesperson from BP confirmed that Hayward and Sechin met but said the two did not discuss his role as chief executive.

“Tony is still our chief executive,” said the spokesperson.

Hayward is expected to meet with TNK-BP partners later today. They will look for assurances that a Gulf of Mexico-style accident could not happen in Russia.

The markets received the news of his Russian trip positively, with BP’s shares up by as much as three per cent towards the middle of the day before closing up 1.3 per cent at 308.25p.