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BP chairman who presided over Gulf spill crisis to retire

Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg in a 2010 file photo.


Energy firm BP announced Thursday that Carl-Henric Svanberg, the chairman who presided over the company during the Deepwater Horizon spill, has decided to retire.

Svanberg took the post in April 2010 – just months before the disaster, which killed 11 people and led to an environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

"The first couple of years were incredibly challenging for us all as we navigated an unusually complex corporate crisis," Svanberg said in a statement. "Through that turbulent period we stayed focused on saving and restoring the company. Today I can say with confidence that BP is back and ready for the future."

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Svanberg will preside over the next annual general meeting in May and remain in position until a successor is chosen.

BP's current CEO, Bob Dudley, credited Svanberg with the company's comeback from the brink following the disaster, from which it is still recovering.

"Together we were able to honour our commitments to the Gulf while rebuilding BP into a safer, stronger company," Dudley said in statement. "We devised a strategy to weather the downturn in the oil market while returning to growth. And we committed to playing a leading role in the energy transition while delivering oil and gas more efficiently."

The oil spill has cost the company dearly, with some $63.2-billion in costs related to the accident. The spill leaked more than 3 million barrels into the Gulf in 2010.

More recently, oil companies like BP have been cutting costs and selling assets after oil prices plunged to 12-year lows in January of 2016. Brent crude, the international benchmark, averaged about $44 a barrel last year, down from more than $100 as recently as September 2014.

Brent traded at $57.48 a barrel on Thursday in London.

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