It’s pretty safe to say that BP has been the most-watched company in the world for the last 100+ days since the fire and subsequent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began.
There have been two significant changes recently.
The oil-containment cap seems to be holding, and BP is trying to permanently cover the well this week. And second, embattled CEO Tony Hayward was be replaced by American Bob Dudley.
I was at BP’s headquarters in London last week when the change in leadership was made, and I had a chance to interview Bob Dudley. When I sat down to do the interview, he reminded me that we had met a few years ago at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
He said that I was in the CNBC tent where we were doing the interviews, and it was freezing outside. “You saw me shivering,” he said, “and came over to me and said, ‘I think you need this right now.’ And you gave me two hand warmers for my gloves and a cup of coffee.”
I confessed that I had forgotten all about that meeting, but it helped set a nice relaxed atmosphere for the interview.
Dividends and Costs
I was impressed with how Dudley handled himself during the interview. He was confident, calm, apologetic and humble. And he seemed to have a vision about where the company needs to go.
We talked about many things, and I will highlight two points for you here: First, he stressed is that he is very interested in revisiting and reinstating the dividend. He was very specific about that, and said he wants to do so in 2011.