LONDON - BP's incoming CEO fired the executive responsible for deepwater wells like the one that blew out in the Gulf of Mexico and announced a new unit to police safety practices throughout the company.

Bob Dudley, an American, took the steps Wednesday to start work on repairing the London-based company's battered reputation, two days before officially taking over as CEO from Tony Hayward.

Dudley said Andy Inglis, BP's chief executive for exploration and production, would be standing down and his divisions would be broken up into three parts. Inglis, who earlier this month was dropped from the board of BP's Russian joint venture, will be leaving the main board "by mutual agreement," BP said.

The new safety organization will be headed by Mark Bly, who led the team that produced BP's report on the causes of the disastrous April 20 blowout of the Macondo well in the Gulf.

That blowout led to widespread scrutiny and criticism of BP's safety practices, but Bly's report earlier this month laid much of the blame on two contractors: Transocean Ltd., which operated the Deepwater Horizon rig, and Halliburton, which was in charge of cementing the well.

"This is a deeply challenging time for BP. The Macondo incident was a tragedy that claimed the lives of 11 people, caused injury to many others and had a widespread environmental impact," Dudley said. "Our response to the incident needs to go beyond deepwater drilling. There are lessons for us relating to the way we operate, the way we organize our company and the way we manage risk." - AP

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