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Daily Telegraph: Hayward should enjoy BP honeymoon – it won’t last

By Damian Reece, City Editor
Last Updated: 12:40am BST 25/07/2007

If Tony Hayward is nervous about the task ahead he betrayed no sign of it at yesterday’s second-quarter results meeting. He is more relaxed than his predecessor at BP, Lord Browne, and his tone was as light as it could or should be while presenting awful results.

He should enjoy the honeymoon because BP faces serious challenges. After an extended period in which managers were encouraged to deliver financial performance, even if that meant cutting corners, Hayward must alter that culture. Although he won’t emulate Lee Raymond, his counterpart at Exxon Mobil, by personally checking the performance of every oil rig daily, BP is obviously moving to more central control. It’s not without risk but it’s the right model.

Apart from culture change, Hayward sensibly didn’t unveil any big change of strategy. Look for more joint ventures like that being discussed with Gazprom where BP’s access to western markets and expertise can be traded for what it desperately needs, more reserves.

That apart, BP’s new boss knows restoring the company’s fortunes is about getting the basics right, delivering new production safely and on time and running its refineries at capacity.

Good sailor that he is, he also knows he needs to knock off the barnacles that accumulate on a big ship like BP. Full steam ahead, cap’n.

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