BP shareholders call for Svanberg’s head: report

BP shareholders call for Svanberg’s head: report
Several major BP shareholders are urging the embattled firm to eject Swedish chairman Carl Henric Svanberg as soon as the leaking oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is capped, the Financial Times reports.

Citing sources close to the group, the newspaper said Svanberg had provoked “very mixed” reactions at meetings held last week.

“Mr Svanberg does not command the total support of shareholders. There are a lot of shareholders who would be happier to see Mr Svanberg go first,” said one investor.

Leading shareholders castigated Svanberg for displaying a lack of leadership

throughout the crisis and for failing to give his full backing to chief executive Tony Hayward. While Hayward enjoys more support among top shareholders, he too is likely to be replaced once the worst of the crisis has subsided, the newspaper reports.

Svanberg made international headlines in mid-June after comments in a White House press conference were interpreted as patronizing towards the people immediately affected by the catastrophe.

“We care about the small people. I hear comments sometimes that large oil companies are greedy companies who don’t care, but that is not the case with BP, we care about the small people,” Svanberg said at the time.

The comments were cited all over the US media as indication of a patronizing attitude towards all of the small business owners and fisherman whose livelihoods were hit by the Mexican Gulf oil spill.

BP was later keen to stress that English was not Svanberg’s first language and that the true meaning of his choice of words had been lost in the translation. The Swede later apologised for the use of the phrase which he conceded was clumsy.

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