BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg to Retire in 2018

BP plc (BP) said Thursday that chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, who took the helm of the group only months before it was engulfed in the Deepwater Horizion disaster in 2010, will leave the company next year.

Svanberg, 68, joined the group in 2009, according to data from BoardEx, a business unit of TheStreet, an was named chairman on Jan. 1 the following year. He continues to serve on the board of Swedish truckmaker Volvo AB, Melker Schorling AB, an investment management firm based in Stockholm.

"It has been a tremendous privilege to lead the BP board over the past eight years. I am proud of the achievements of the management and the company in that time," Svanberg said. "The first couple of years were incredibly challenging for us all as we navigated an unusually complex corporate crisis. 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," he added. "Our Chief Executive, Bob Dudley, is the one who, with his team, deserves credit and I am pleased that whoever is fortunate enough to succeed me as chairman will have the opportunity to work with him and his impressive management group. Until then, I look forward to continuing to serve BP and our shareholders."

Svanberg courted controversy during the company's handling on the Deepwater explosion, which killed 11 people and triggered the biggest natural disaster in U.S. history. 

The Swede referred to those affected by the disaster as "the small people", a phrase for which he would later apologise, but the gaffe was nonetheless indicative of the company's clumsy PR handling of the incident, which included the infamous line from then-CEO Tony Hayward that "there's no one who wants this over more than I do - I would like my life back."

BP's senior independent director, Ian Davis, will lead the search for Svanberg's successor, the company said. 

BP shares were marked 0.83% higher at 492.05 pence each near the close of trading in London, extending their three-month gain to just over 10.3%.

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