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BP to draw line under spill with new boss

Oil giant BP will hope to draw a line in the sand after the Gulf of Mexico tragedy with the replacement of under-fire boss Tony Hayward.

Mr Hayward spent his last day as chief executive before officially handing over to successor Bob Dudley today in the first step towards restoring trust in BP.

Mr Dudley has already announced a major shake-up in advance of taking up the post, unveiling a management overhaul in exploration and the creation of a new safety division with sweeping powers.

His decisive action was well-received by investors, with the departure of Andy Inglis - head of the exploration and production division in charge of the Gulf of Mexico operation - seen as a positive move in putting the spill behind it.

Mr Dudley, a US citizen and BP board member, said the changes are the most "urgent" needed to begin rebuilding shattered confidence in the firm.

He faces an uphill struggle in leading a turnaround after the Deepwater Horizon spill - the biggest such environmental disaster in US history.

For Mr Hayward, it brought to an abrupt end a 28-year career with the oil group.

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He enjoyed a successful tenure before the spill, but is likely to be remembered for a series of unfortunate PR gaffes during the crisis.

Facing attacks from US politicians and President Barack Obama, Mr Hayward had little choice but to quit.

He will remain on the board until November 30 and has been put forward for a non-executive position in BP's Russian joint venture TNK-BP.

But this is only a part-time role and his other plans have not been confirmed.

Mr Hayward said on announcing his departure in July that he will always feel a "deep responsibility" for the Gulf of Mexico explosion, "regardless of where blame is ultimately found to lie".

He enjoyed a stellar career at the oil giant before this summer's devastating explosion and spill.

Earmarked for success by former boss Lord Browne, the 53-year-old took over as group chief executive in 2007 while the oil group was still reeling from the fallout from the deadly Texas City refinery blast.

But his back-to-basics approach saw BP's reputation largely rehabilitated and its market position enhanced during his first three years in the job.