BP’s chief executive Tony Hayward – who emerged from a grilling by US lawmakers this week – is to give up the day-to-day handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Instead the role will be taken over by the company’s managing director. The news was announced by chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg in a TV interview.
The chairman said the changeover would take place now, but BP said later it would happen once the current crisis had passed.
The oil firm’s executives have been firmly in the spotlight since their meeting with President Obama at the White House on Wednesday.
The authorities dealing with the leak say the amount of oil being captured has risen to 25,000 barrels a day – a figure they hope to double by the end of the week.
Svanberg said that BP remained in a strong financial position despite market uncertainty since the disaster.
The company is said to be seeking five and a half billion euros in loans from banks. BP has agreed to set up a 16 billion euro compensation fund for victims.
The fund’s administrator has promised that legitimate claims will be settled quickly.