Search for BP chair nears end

OIL giant BP&rsquo;s tortuous two-year slog to find a new chairman is finally drawing to a close, and mining and energy heavyweight Paul Anderson is tipped to be the man to end it.<br /><br />While BP refused to comment on who might fill the post &ndash; one of the most prestigious in corporate Britain &ndash; Anderson fits the bill; his recent experience lies in the energy resources sector.<br /><br />An announcement on who will succeed current chief executive Peter Sutherland is expected before July.<br /><br />&ldquo;Industrial background is less important than knowledge of international trade and global companies,&rdquo; BP said yesterday.<br /><br />But institutional investors have been pressuring the company to draft in a chairman who has a detailed knowledge of the challenges facing oil companies. <br /><br />Sutherland was expected to leave the FTSE 100 company last year, but was forced to stay on when initial favourite and chairman designate Paul Skinner elected to stay at mining giant Rio Tinto.<br /><br />Sir Ian Prosser, BP&rsquo;s senior independent director, has been in charge of the hunt for a new BP boss. Also on the nomination committee are Sutherland, chairman of the Wellcome Trust Sir William (Bill) Castell, and economist DeAnne Julius.<br /><br />The new chairman will have to mollify angry shareholders, enraged at executive pay. He will also face the task of bringing the company into emerging markets.<br /><br /><strong>PAUL ANDERSON<br />FUTURE CHAIRMAN OF BP?</strong><br />If BP announces Paul Anderson as its new chairman by the end of the month, as is expected, it will go some way towards appeasing disgruntled shareholders, who want an experienced body at the helm.<br /><br />Anderson, who is 64 years old, was part of the team to spearhead the merger which created BHP Billiton. He&rsquo;s still a non-executive director at the mining giant. <br /><br />From 2001 to 2002 he was chief executive and managing director of the company.<br /><br />He has sat as chairman on Fortune 500 group Duke Energy from 2003 to 2007, and still holds that position at Spectra Energy.<br /><br />Anderson began his career at Ford, and held various positions between 1969 and 1972. <br /><br />He was planning manager from 1972 until 1977, and then joined PanEnergy, where he became chairman.<br /><br />He was a director at Qantas from 2002 to 2008, and at building company Temple Inland from 2002 until 2004.<br /><br />Anderson is also a member of the US President&rsquo;s council of advisors on science and technology.<br /><br />But other names are still being mooted for the position.