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Report: Tony Hayward preparing to resign from BP

bp_oil_hayward_100524.top.jpgBP denies a Times of London report saying CEO Tony Hayward is preparing to step down. By CNNMoney.com staff

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- BP's beleaguered chief executive, Tony Hayward, is preparing to step down from his position within the next 10 weeks, the Times of London reported Tuesday, citing "sources" close to the company.

Hayward and his management choices have drawn a barrage of criticism since BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling rig accident began spewing oil into the Gulf of Mexico 92 days ago. Its share price hammered, BP is fighting to ensure that it has the resources to pay the billions it now faces in fines, cleanup expenses and compensation claims from local workers and businesses.

There is a "growing expectation" that Hayward will announce his departure in late August or September, the Times reported. "You would be hard-pushed to find anyone within the company who does not think he is irreparably damaged -- both by his own performance and by the event itself," the newspaper quoted one company insider as saying.

BP (BP) strongly denied the Times' report. "There is no truth in this article," Daren Beaudo, a BP spokesman based in Houston, told CNN. "Mr. Hayward is not leaving."

Hundreds of millions of gallons of oil have leaked into the Gulf since the April accident, making this oil spill the worst on record in the U.S. On Tuesday BP announced it will sell off $7 billion worth of oil and gas assets to oil firm Apache.

"The board has considered BP's options for generating the cash necessary to meet the obligations likely to arise from the Gulf of Mexico oil spill," BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said in a statement.

Those obligations include the $20 billion the company has pledged to set aside in a fund to compensate the spill's economic victims.

CNN's Talia Kayali contributed to this report. To top of page

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