July 26, 2010—
As speculation strengthens that today will be BP CEO Tony Hayward's last day, some are already looking forward to his yet-unnamed successor.
"He has to go," U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., told "Good Morning America." "This is the leader of this company. He was the one that allowed this company to run up the worst safety record of any company n the world."
Reports that Hayward, whose bumbling public statements have often served only to rub salt into the wounds of Gulf Coast residents, would step down this week surfaced Sunday.
BP's board is expected to meet today, one day ahead of its announcement of second-quarter earnings, and a spokesman has said over the weekend that no final decisions have been made regarding
Hayward's future with the company.
If and when Hayward bows out, he is likely to be succeeded by BP's managing director and Mississippi native Bob Dudley.
Markey said today that while Dudley, who's been running BP's daily operations for more than a month, is a better choice, he suggested Dudley's assertion last month that the relief well would be completed by this week was not a coincidence given the deadline for the second-quarter earnings announcement.
Still, he called Dudley, "a step in the right direction."
Markey has been especially critical of Hayward, who infamously told the world after the spill, "I just want my life back."
Over the weekend, Markey issued a statement reacting to the BBC reports of Hayward's impending exit.
"While it's now happy sailing for Tony Hayward, rough conditions will persist in the Gulf of Mexico for years to come because of his failed leadership," he said.
He also skewered the CEO for what he called "another reminder of Hayward's aloof, uninformed leadership."
Markey explained to "GMA" that he was referring to new information he received last week that Hayward's Congressional testimony on the failed top kill procedure was incorrect.
"Tony Hayward testified that the drilling mud that they put into this well back about a month ago had no toxic material in it," Markey said today. "And BP reported back to me on Friday that there were dangerous chemicals in that toxic mud."
Markey said he also blamed Hayward for slowing down the initial response to the disaster by grossly underestimating how much oil was flowing into the gulf.
If Hayward were to step down, he would leave with a generous compensation package -- his salary and pension are worth a reported $18 million.
Dudley, one BP's few top-ranking Americans, received a total of $6.4 million in compensation last year, according to the research firm Equilar.
Whoever takes the helm of BP should Hayward step down will have a challenge of gargantuan proportions.
Clean up costs in the gulf are already over $40 billion and the company will need to scramble to find a way to finance the $20 billion fund set up to ensure it pays out all the claims and fines resulting from the spill.
The Associated Press reported today that another possible successor could be Iain Conn, who works in marketing and serves on the company's board of directors.
Markey said that whoever takes over has a lot of work ahead to undo the damage Hayward has done in terms of the company's public image, which he said seems more concerned with BP's own liability than the livability of the Gulf Coast.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.