Under-fire BP boss Tony Hayward yesterday handed over day-to-day control of the oil spill crisis to another senior executive.

BP board director Bob Dudley will lead the new Gulf Coast Restoration Organisation.

Mr Dudley, who will report to Mr Hayward, will head the huge clean-up, co-ordinate with US authorities, assess the environmental impact of the disaster and manage the £13.4billion fund which BP has set up to manage claims.

The switch leaves Mr Hayward, who has been heavily criticised for his handling of the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, to focus on the rest of the business.

‘Our commitment to the Gulf States is for the long term. And that requires a more permanent sustainable organisation to see it through,’ said Mr Hayward.

‘Having grown up in Mississippi, Bob has a deep appreciation and affinity for the Gulf Coast, and believes deeply in BP’s commitment to restore the region.’

Mr Dudley has worked for BP since 1999, when the company merged with American group Amoco.

Meanwhile, the White House is set to step up its legal battle to keep deep- water drilling on hold in the Gulf of Mexico in the aftermath of the worst oil spill in US history.

The ban was imposed after a well operated by BP exploded on April 20 and began spewing oil into the sea.

by metro