BP Executive Tony Hayward Announces Departure in October

"The Gulf of Mexico explosion was a terrible tragedy.

As the man in charge of BP when it happened, I will always feel a deep responsibility, regardless of where blame is ultimately found to lie," Hayward said in a statement. BP said it plans to recommend Hayward for a non-executive board position at its Russian joint venture, which Dudley left after a battle with shareholders. Hayward's generous compensation package is proving controversial,

Mr. Hayward, 54 years old, displayed no bitterness at the premature end to his 28-year career at BP, saying that his resignation is the only way the company he led for three years has any chance of restoring its reputation and continuing to operate in the U.S.

However, he pushed back forcefully against accusations from rival oil companies that BP's well design was unsafe and said the facts will exonerate BP when they emerge.

"Today is a very sad day for me," Mr. Hayward told reporters in a conference call. "I've spent my entire professional career at BP. I love the company and everything it stands for."