BP America chief to meet with workers to hear challenges they face

The new head of BP’s U.S. operations plans to visit workplaces and hear from employees firsthand  as the British oil giant looks to overcome ongoing legal challenges and tries to grow its global portfolio following significant divestitures it made to cover its Gulf oil spill liabilities.

In a memo to employees this week, BP America President John  Mingé said he is eager to learn what’s on their minds.

“Those who have worked with me before know that I am a hands-on leader, and I like to be very engaged with the workforce,” he wrote.

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He has plenty to keep him busy, and to talk to employees about.

Mingé noted that the Deepwater Horizon civil trial is well under way in New Orleans.

“I have spent a fair amount of time with our legal team and it is clear they are vigorously defending the company’s interests,” he said.

He gave no indication whether BP is still in settlement talks with parties in the case.

But he said BP is working  with the Environmental Protection Agency to reach an administrative agreement resolving BP’s suspension from seeking new government work.

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The company is precluded from new U.S. government contracts while it is under a suspension imposed by the EPA in connection with BP’s agreement to plead guilty to criminal charges related to the 2010 Gulf disaster.

Mingé said in his memo that BP has a diverse portfolio of assets across the U.S. that he is seeking to grow.

Mingé, previously head of BP Alaska since 2009, become head of BP’s operations in the United States on Feb. 15, replacing Lamar McKay, who became head of  all of BP’s upstream businesses.