By Houston Business Journal

BP Plc on Monday refused to confirm press speculation that its embattled CEO Tony Hayward is in fact stepping down, saying only that no final decision has been made.

Over the weekend, numerous reports out of Britain indicated that Hayward was, in fact, planning his departure with the company.

To add fuel to those rumors, a senior U.S. government official too said that Hayward was on his way out.

A crop of potential replacements have been named, including American Bob Dudley, the managing director in charge of the Gulf oil spill cleanup.

BPâ¿¿s board is meeting Monday night but in the meantime, the company is keeping quiet.

Hayward has been repeatedly criticized for his handling of the crisis and talks of his leaving have come up several times since the Deepwater Horizon exploded on April 20, ultimately leading to the largest oil spill in U.S. history.

Last week, BP (NYSE: BP) said its costs to clean up the disaster had reached $3.95 billion.

The cleanup was halted due to Tropical Storm Bonnie but the company has resumed operations.

Shares of BP were up 4.7 percent to $38.60 in mid-day trading Monday.

The Houston Business Journal is providing continuous coverage of the Gulf oil spill.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010