June 17, 2010 / 9:34 PM / 9 years ago

BP chairman: board has not discussed CEO's future: paper

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The board of British oil giant BP, which is struggling to cap an undersea well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico, has not discussed the future of the company’s chief executive, BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said in Swedish daily Dagens Industri on Thursday.

“There has been a terrible catastrophe and now what we have to do is put all our efforts into stopping the leak as quickly as possible,” Svanberg, who took over as BP chairman at the turn of the year, said.

“To change CEO now would be a bit like being in the middle of the ocean in a storm and starting to discuss the suitability of the captain.”

BP’s chief executive, Tony Hayward, faced a hostile congressional hearing on Thursday, where lawmakers accused him of evasion and ducking responsibility for the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

On Wednesday, BP reached a deal with the White House on setting up a $20-billion fund for compensation claims arising from the spill.

Asked about his own position, Svanberg, a Swede who was previously chief executive of world-leading mobile telecom equipment firm Ericsson, had no comment.

Editing by Myra MacDonald

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