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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

BP's Browne to Leave Before Time

BP said Friday that CEO John Browne would retire at the end of July -- more than a year ahead of expectations -- and be replaced by Tony Hayward, the company's head of exploration and production.

Hayward, who has worked at BP since 1982, was picked as Browne's replacement over TNK-BP CEO Robert Dudley, who was considered his main rival for the job.

The creation of TNK-BP in September 2003, overseen by Browne, gave the company access to large areas of Russia's vast hydrocarbon reserves. TNK-BP has recently had its operations put under threat for lagging behind the schedules outlined in their licenses to develop new fields in eastern Siberia and ecological violations during pipeline construction at the Kovykta gas field.

On Nov. 23, Browne met with the heads of state-run Gazprom and Rosneft in Moscow to discuss cooperation on projects and sales of liquefied natural gas. One day later, Browne told an EU-Russia Industrialists' Round Table in Helsinki that international oil companies should not expect to be able to control Russia's natural resources.

Browne first joined the company in 1966 as an apprentice. During Browne's tenure as CEO, BP said, the company saw a fivefold increase in its market capitalization to $202.7 billion. But BP said earlier this week that production in the fourth quarter was unlikely to change compared with the previous three months, following more than one year of declining output.

(AP, Reuters, MT)