BP CEO Tony Hayward no longer has the oil company's "full support" as chief executive. Now, the company is simply denying that a "final decision" has been made regarding his position. Many observers believe that means Hayward is on the way out, and probably will be out by the end of the day. What's next for Hayward and BP, which presumably will soon be under his successor?

Update, 2:17 p.m.:
A source tells the AP that Hayward is, in fact, being removed, and will instead be assigned to some of BP's projects in Russia.

  • Hayward's Done  "Since BP is 'refusing to confirm the widespread reports' that CEO Tony Hayward is just about to be fired," writes linguist Geoffrey Pullum at Language Log, "I assume he will be out by the end of the day (if you get up in the morning and find your employer is refusing to confirm reports that you are on the way out, start removing passives from your resume, because you're already toast)."
  • Hayward the 'Tragic Figure,' Dudley the Fresh Start  Time's Bryan Walsh says Hayward's ouster has long been a matter of "when, not if." Bob Dudley, who took hold of the Gulf situation after Hayward proved to be a public relations liability, is expected to take over. Walsh points out that much of Hayward's failure might actually be laid at the feet of his predecessor, Lord Browne--Walsh sees Hayward as "something of a tragic figure." Still, he highlights the practical pluses of the situation for BP:
If anything, the move signals that BP may believe the initial phase of the disaster is over, with the well capped and a relief or static kill expected to be completed within the next few weeks. It was unlikely that BP was going to get rid of Hayward in the teeth of the crisis--now, with the active part of the spill over, Dudley can start with something close to a fresh canvas.
  • And Investors Are Happy  The market reaction to Hayward's reported departure is good, notes Business Insider's Joe Weisenthal. Investors are "bidding up shares of BP in London trading."
  • Applauding Accountability  Starting out by acknowledging that the Deepwater Horizon explosion "was not Mr. Hayward's fault," The Wall Street Journal argues that Hayward's forced departure is just, and that "[i]t is ... worth applauding what continues to be a culture of accountability in the private economy, especially in contrast to modern political life."
  • 'A Severe Test for Hayward's Successor'  The company's "assets and trading results," writes Tom Bower at The Daily Beast, "are strong enough to rebut any opportunistic bid by a rival." Nevertheless, he thinks the company's "reconstruction" is going to be quite a task, and says the presumed successor, Bob Dudley, will need to "hire new blood." He also recounts one of Dudley's more spectacular failures attempting to represent BP in Russia, in which he "was forced to flee within one hour of being detained by the Russian police."