BP deny Tony Hayward exit plans

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BP have denied reports the firm are planning to replace beleaguered chief executive Tony Hayward within weeks.

Reports suggest that the 54-year-old would stand down by September as BP's board looks towards rebuilding the oil giant's reputation, following the US oil spill.

But a spokesman said Mr Hayward had the full backing of the board as the company announced a £3.2 billion asset sale, to help fund compensation claims.

Mr Hayward has been roundly criticised for a series of PR gaffes and a failure to quickly stem the three-month leak in the Gulf of Mexico. He angered senators in the US at a congressional committee after refusing to accept the accident was solely BP's responsibility.

He also caused uproar after saying that he wanted his life back during a visit to Louisiana in May.