12 January 2007 17:44 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--BP head of exploration and production Tony Hayward will take over the helm of the oil giant following the retirement of current chief executive John Browne at the end of July, BP said in a statement on Friday.
Browne will be stepping down early. In July 2006 he said he would retire at the end of 2008.
Shares in the company rose sharply following the news. At 16:35 GMT they were up 9.5 pence at 546.5 pence, 1.77% up on Thursday’s closing price of 537.
"It has been a privilege to have had the opportunity to turn BP into an international company at the forefront of the energy industry, said Browne.
Peter Sutherland, BP’s chairman, described Lord Browne 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,” said Mr Sutherland.
Browne, who joined BP in 1966 as a university apprentice, has been group chief executive at the company for 12 years.
He had earlier said he would stay in the role until the end of 2008 but BP said Lord Browne had decided it was in the company’s interest to expedite the handover to ?xml:namespace>
BP said Lord Browne had seen a fivefold increase in the company’s market capitalisation since becoming CEO.
Hayward, who turns 50 this year, joined BP in 1982. He was appointed to its main board in 2003.
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