City & Corporate: Gowers exits BP as part of comms revamp

Andrew Gowers, the BP media chief caught at the heart of the storm of Deepwater Horizon, is leaving as the oil giant shakes up its comms.

Gowers, BP's head of media, will leave the firm at the end of the month. He took over from long-standing media head Roddy Kennedy in autumn 2009.

Gowers led BP's heavily criticised comms response to a disaster that killed 11 men and has cost the firm US$40bn so far.

His departure is part of an overhaul of BP's comms operation, initiated by BP's new chief executive Bob Dudley.

Last month PRWeek wrote that BP was seeking an 'Anji Hunter-type figure' in a newly created position to take control of comms (8 October). Hunter left BP in 2007 and is now head of government and social affairs at Anglo American.

At the time BP insisted this did not affect Gowers' position, although market rumours suggested he was thrashing out the terms of his departure.

Dudley said in an internal memo to staff last Friday: '(Gowers) has elected to leave BP to pursue opportunities elsewhere. He will continue to provide support in an advisory capacity when required over the coming months.'

Gowers was previously head of comms at ill-fated investment bank Lehman Brothers and before that was editor of the Financial Times.

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