BP's Hayward: 'I became a villain for doing the right thing'

By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Outgoing BP chief executive Tony Hayward is defending his leadership of the company in the aftermath of the oil rig explosion that killed 11 workers and led to the worst offshore spill in U.S. history.

"I became a villain for doing the right thing," Hayward told the Wall Street Journal in his first interview since announcing his exit earlier this week. "But I understand that people find it easier to vilify an individual more than a company."

Hayward told the newspaper that he took responsibility of the spill and has spent billions to contain the spewing oil and clean up the shoreline.

As the head of the company, Hayward became a target for public and political anger after the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster in the Gulf of Mexico in April.

Hayward told the Journal that while he understood the Obama administration's frustration, he resented the constant criticism.

"I didn't want to leave BP (BP), because I love the company," Hayward said in the interview. "Because I love the company, I must leave BP."

Hayward will be replaced by an American, Robert Dudley, effective Oct. 1.

"In America, the road back will be long but I believe achievable when the whole truth of the accident finally emerges and the Gulf coast is restored....BP can rebuild faster in America without Tony Hayward as its CEO," he said in the interview.

After he helps Dudley transition into BP's top spot, Hayward will serve as a board member for BP's Russian oil and gas business, TNK-BP.  To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,042.90 -28.32 -0.17%
Nasdaq 4,493.39 -12.46 -0.28%
S&P 500 1,972.29 -5.51 -0.28%
Treasuries 2.51 0.02 0.68%
Data as of 3:27am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Ford Motor Co 14.79 -0.32 -2.12%
Bank of America Corp... 17.05 0.04 0.24%
eBay Inc 56.63 3.97 7.54%
Apple Inc 100.75 0.64 0.64%
General Electric Co 25.62 0.20 0.79%
Data as of Sep 30

Sections

CNNMoney's Italian-American investing correspondents did a taste test of Olive Garden's food. They agree with hedge fund Starboard: It's not very appetizing. More

Even limited air operations could cost up to $4 billion a year, says a think tank, while large ground forces could cost $1.8 billion a month. More

Pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong are using FireChat to improve communication and organize. More

On Wednesday, 17% of First Green Bank's 66 employees will get a raise under the company's new "living wage" program. The guarantee: At least about $30,000 a year. More

This mom of four only makes $29,000 a year and is losing $400 a month because the state is garnishing her paycheck over a debt. Now she is about to be evicted from her apartment. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.