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Hayward hopes to reassure Moscow

BP CEO Tony Hayward is expected to visit Russia soon to try to reassure President Dmitry Medvedev that the oil company is not on the brink of financial collapse as a result of the Gulf of Mexico spill, the Financial Times reported Wednesday.

Russia and the U.S. are BP's biggest areas of operation, with the former providing nearly 25 percent of the company's oil.

The FT reported that Hayward wants to meet Medvedev to reassure him that BP can withstand the liabilities from the spill and to discuss whether the company will sell some of its Russian assets to help fund the Gulf cleanup. The timing of the trip remains uncertain, it said.

Word of Hayward's trip comes a day after BP decided to shift responsibility for public response to the spill to one of the company's top-ranking Americans, Bob Dudley.

Dudley, the company's managing director, will take over as BP's point man on the spill response, reporting to Hayward, who has been widely criticized for tone-deaf comments and yachting amid the crisis.

The Associated Press reports that Dudley is no stranger to tough situations, having protected his company's interests in rough dealing in Russia even after he was barred from the country. Perhaps most importantly, he is a fresh face for the oil giant as it attempts to fix the spill and protect its future.

-- Mike Brunker