BP recalls chief of American arm: Analysts baffled by 'bizarre' transatlantic reshuffle

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The Independent Online
BRITISH PETROLEUM, the struggling oil giant, has replaced Rodney Chase as chief executive of its American operations, it was announced yesterday, writes Neil Thapar.

Mr Chase, 49, who will retain his title as chairman of BP America, is being recalled to the group's London headquarters but will continue as group managing director responsible for US operations.

The move baffled City analysts. David Stedman, oil analyst at Daiwa Securities, said: 'This is slightly bizarre. What is the point of having regional managing directors when they sit in London?'

Mr Chase was appointed head of BP America last year to succeed James Ross, who left the group to join Cable and Wireless, the telecommunications company, after just 12 months in the job.

Mr Chase's duties as chief executive will be taken over by Charles Bowman, currently head of BP's Australian operations. Ronald McGimpsey, chief financial officer of BP America, is being sent to Australia as the new chief executive of BP Australia.

Hugh Norton, another managing director, will move from Singapore to London.

The company said the moves were aimed at centralising business and regional managing directors to integrate their workload. The moves would also reduce the time spent travelling from the operating units to London.