Outgoing BP boss Tony Hayward will be offered a board role within the group's Russian joint venture when he stands down, it was reported yesterday.
The oil giant is expected to confirm his resignation from the top job following a board meeting being held this evening, but is likely to offer Mr Hayward a non-executive directorship at TNK-BP in Russia, according to Sky News.
The move could mean the beleaguered chief executive's 28-year career with BP is not brought to a complete halt.
Shares in BP closed 5% higher as investors cheered the prospect of a change at the helm following the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
The firm declined to comment on the reported offer of a Russian role for Mr Hayward and said “no final decision” had been taken on his future.
But his fate is set to be sealed at tonight's board meeting and is expected to be confirmed tomorrow alongside provisions running into tens of billions of dollars for the Gulf of Mexico spill, which has triggered the worst crisis in the company's long history.
Mr Hayward has led the firm since 2007 but has committed a string of PR blunders since the crisis began in April and was reportedly negotiating his departure over the weekend.
Fellow board member and US citizen Bob Dudley — currently in charge of the clean-up — is the favourite to take over, becoming BP's first foreign chief executive.
Mr Dudley was previously head of the Russian operation, but fled the country after a dispute flared with the firm's Russian partners.
Mr Hayward is seen as having a good relationship with Moscow.
The terms of his departure from the £1 million-a-year post are not yet known, although he will leave with a pension pot worth £10.8m.
Alongside his salary, Mr Hayward received a £2.09m bonus for 2009 as well as £336,000 in shares which were allotted under the firm's performance plan for 2006-08.