London BP chief executive Tony Hayward is to step down on October 1 following the oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, the company said in London on Tuesday.

Mr. Hayward, who has been with the firm for 28 years, had been severely criticized for his handling of the disaster.

He is expected to be succeeded by Robert (Bob) Dudley, a U.S. citizen, at the helm of Britain’s biggest company.

The news came as the company announced a second quarter loss of 17.1 billion dollars, mainly as a result of costs involved in cleaning up the oil spill. The April-June loss was the first quarterly deficit since 1992 and came on top of 6.1 billion dollar profit for the first quarter of 2010.