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BP's chief executive Tony Hayward has been negotiating the terms of his exit, with a formal announcement likely within 24 hours, the BBC has learnt.
Mr Hayward has been widely criticised over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
BBC business editor Robert Peston said it was likely he would be replaced by his US colleague Bob Dudley, now in charge of the clean-up operation.
"In many ways changing the chief executive is as much practical as it is symbolic; it all rests on reputation.