Tony Hayward, the embattled chief executive of BP, is on the verge of leaving the company, a senior U.S. government official confirmed Sunday.


Tony Hayward, shown in this June 17 photo, is reported to be on his way out as chief executive of BP. ((Alex Brandon/Associated Press))

The announcement of Hayward's departure could come as soon as Monday evening, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The individual said he had been briefed on the decision by a senior BP official late last week.

British media reported earlier in the day that Hayward, 53, was on his way out.

The BBC said Sunday that Hayward is currently negotiating his exit from the London-based oil company and that a formal announcement is expected within the next 24 hours.

Negotiations over a severance package were held on the weekend, the Sunday Telegraph reported Sunday, saying that BP's board will discuss the timing of Hayward's exit when it meets Monday to review the company's second quarter results ahead of their release on Tuesday.

Hayward has faced intense criticism of his handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Last month, he testified before a congressional committee hearing in Washington about the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers on April 20 and the steady leak of oil that began two days later.

Hayward said he was "personally devastated" by the disaster.

Bart Stupak, lead investigator with the House of Representatives committee on energy and commerce, told the BP executive he and his colleagues were "extremely frustrated" with Hayward's "lack of candour" in his responses.

The BBC said Hayward would likely be replaced by Bob Dudley, who is the company's managing director and is in charge of the cleanup operation.

Dudley, an American, would be well suited to take over the CEO position, according to Oppenheimer & Co. senior analyst Fadel Gheit.

Gheit described Dudley as even-tempered and good at delegating, but added, "I'm not sure if removing Tony Hayward is going to throw BP's problems away."

BP press officer Tony Odone said the company would not comment on the reports, adding that Hayward remains as CEO and "has the confidence  of the board and management."

With files from The Associated Press