New BP chairman to announce 80% rise in profits

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The Independent Online

BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg, will on Tuesday report his first results since taking over the hot seat, and they are set to please investors.

Analysts reckon BP will release strong numbers for the three months to December showing a profit of $4.66bn, up 80 per cent on the same period last year, much better than rivals Royal Dutch Shell and Total, partly because of strength in its Gulf of Mexico operations.

BP announced a board reshuffle last week in which former BHP Billiton chief executive Paul Anderson – once touted as a possible chairman – will become a non-executive director. Mr Anderson will replace former RBS bank chairman Sir Tom McKillop who was forced out last year. Three other non-executive directors will stand down and be replaced this year or early next.

The shake-up is seen by analysts as part of Mr Svanberg's bid to reinforce his authority at the oil and gas giant. "The new chairman wants to make sure there is no scope for friction between the executives and non-executives," said one.

Elsewhere, drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline will report full year profits in line with forecasts of £7.49bn, up from £6.66bn in 2008. GSK's numbers will be scrutinised carefully following the news last week from competitor AstraZeneca that it plans to cut 8,000 of its 65,000-strong workforce. Its shares fell by 131p to 2912p on the news.