BP hires new head of PR after Gulf spill

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BP has hired one of chief executive Bob Dudley’s former colleagues to repair the company’s public image following the Gulf of Mexico disaster, sources close to the company confirmed yesterday.

Peter Henshaw is set to join the firm as a senior executive in the next month, with responsibility for rebuilding the company’s reputation.

He most recently worked for British natural gas explorer BG Group as head of government and public affairs, but prior to this spent close to a decade with BP.

He worked alongside Dudley at BP’s Russian joint venture TNK-BP between 2003 and 2008. Former chief executive Tony Hayward has been with the Russian offshoot in a non-executive role since stepping down from BP in October 2010, following a string of embarrassing gaffes.

Henshaw replaces Andrew Gowers, the former editor of the Financial Times who left BP’s communications team at the end of November.

BP declined to comment on the news yesterday.

Henshaw’s appointment comes in the middle of BP’s $30bn (£19.4bn) asset sale as it tries to raise funds to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Shares in BP rocketed yesterday after Keith Feinberg, the lawyer in charge of the firm’s $20bn compensation fund, said only about half of the money could be needed to pay claimants.

Shares closed 1.3 per cent up yesterday at 499.25p.