BP Managing Director Robert Dudley, who has a degree in chemical engineering, is in line to replace former CEO Tony Hayward as the head of one of the U.K.'s largest firms. Observers note that having an American in charge may help the company to do business in the U.S. in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. "Bob Dudley is the only senior executive who is totally untainted by any of the problems that have hit BP for the past five years," says one energy analyst.

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