Oil giant BP seeks global comms chief as part of restructure

BP is planning a major restructure of its comms operation, including the hire of an 'Anji Hunter-type figure' above the existing structure and personnel.

Protests: Environmental acivists' anger at BP in Milan
Protests: Environmental acivists' anger at BP in Milan

The beleaguered energy multinational is also taking fresh comms advice from consultancies, according to sources.

Following the installation of new chief executive Bob Dudley on 1 October, the oil behemoth is proposing to slot a new global comms chief above both head of group media Andrew Gowers and director of comms David Bickerton.

The appointment will reverse a restructure that took place when Anji Hunter, former director of comms under then CEO John Browne, left BP in 2007.

The new position may even include a broader range of duties than under Hunter.

A BP source said: 'There was an overarching person, but we haven't got that at the moment. Anji did some of that, but not all of it.'

A handful of high-profile comms directors in London and Paris are understood to have been contacted about the global position, some from within the oil industry.

One comms director said: 'They want to get someone who is international, who has good multicultural understanding, fantastic credentials, the ability to cope with short-term crisis issues, and to oversee comms strategy for the midto long-term.'

It is also understood BP has been in talks with corporate agencies about long-term reputation management following the Deepwater environmental disaster.

Brunswick, its main consultancy, is understood to be staffing up in the US, in part owing to the increased workload of the agency in the country since the disaster. BP is understood have paid an eight figure (GBP) fee to Brunswick for its work during the crisis.

Hunter is now head of government and social affairs at South African mining group Anglo American.

BP TIMELINE
1 October: Bob Dudley takes over as chief executive
19 September: BP finally seals off the ruptured well
26 July: CEO Tony Hayward steps down
20 June: Photos of Hayward attending a yacht race with his son prompt
outrage
30 May: Hayward causes anger by telling reporters: 'I would like my life
back.'
20 April: Explosion on the Transocean drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico

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