Appearing briefly outside BP's London headquarters on Tuesday, the incoming Chief Executive Robert Dudley said that sealing the well in the Gulf of Mexico was his priority and that he planned to focus on building relationships on the Gulf Coast and in Washington DC.
The news that BP's much-criticised Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward will be replaced by the American on October 1 comes as the oil giant reported a record quarterly loss and set aside $32.2 billion to cover the costs of the devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
"There's no question that we are going to learn a lot from this ... and I'm sure there will be changes," Dudley told reporters.
BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg briefly defended his decision to stay on with the company while the outgoing Mr Hayward stood silent, a small smile on his face.
In a mark of faith in its outgoing leader, BP said it planned to recommend Hayward for a non-executive board position at its Russian joint venture and will pay him a £1.045 million a year salary. On top of the payout, Hayward who will remain on the board until November 30, retains his rights to shares under a long-term performance programme which could eventually be worth several million pounds if BP's share price recovers.
Hayward will step down on October 1 but will remain on the BP board until the end of November and has been put forward as a non-executive director of the firm's TNK-BP Russian joint venture.