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BP CEO Dudley Son of former Southern Miss Physics Professor PDF Print E-mail
Friday, July 30, 2010
Contact David Tisdale, 601.266.4499   

New British Petroleum (BP) CEO Bob Dudley has roots at The University of Southern Mississippi where his father, Horace C. Dudley, served as chairman and professor with its Department of Physics throughout most of the 1960s until the family moved to Chicago.

Bob Dudley was recently chosen by BP and its board of directors to serve as CEO to lead the company in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill crisis in the Gulf of Mexico. He served as president and CEO for TNK-BP, the company’s oil production initiative in Russia, from 2003-2008 before being named as a director for the company’s interests in the Americas and Asia.

“We are highly fortunate to have a successor of the caliber of Bob Dudley who has spent his working life in the oil industry both in the U.S. and overseas and has proved himself a robust operator in the toughest circumstances,” said BP chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg in a statement released by the company.

The elder Dudley earned a doctorate from Georgetown University and did post-doctoral study at Oak Ridge Institute of Nuclear Studies (now Oak Ridge Associated Universities); the University of California; and at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratories in Upton, N.Y.

Former Southern Miss President Shelby Thames was a member of the university’s faculty at the same time as Dudley and remembers his former colleague as “an excellent administrator who had a good reputation as a teacher and researcher.”

“He did a great job with our Department of Physics and I remember we were really sorry to see him go when they moved,” Thames said.

The younger Dudley attended Hattiesburg’s Thames Elementary and Junior High School (now Thames Elementary). Carroll Russell was principal of Thames Elementary at the time, and remembers the younger Dudley as being a model student and his parents as being very supportive of the school and its teachers.

“He (Bob) was quiet, orderly, very smart and well respected by his peer group,” said Russell, who now serves as director of adult education and chief GRE examiner for the Hattiesburg Public School District. “The faculty knew he was destined to be a success.  We couldn’t have asked for a better family to be involved with the school.”

Russell has high hopes for Dudley in his new post with BP and believes he’s the right man to help resolve the crisis in the Gulf. “We needed someone like him to take a leadership role in this situation, and it’s an opportunity for him to use his outstanding leadership abilities to help us recover from this unfortunate incident,” he said.

Horace Dudley

Bob Dudley

About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities.  In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world.  Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at
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