A key Democratic US lawmaker called on BP Monday to withhold "golden parachute" compensation to its chief executive if he quits as expected amid heavy criticism for his role in handling the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Tony Hayward was expected to resign imminently with a payoff package of up to 18.5 million dollars, according to British media reports, but Representative Edward Markey called on the firm to put off any compensation until it has paid in full its costs for the spill.
"BP should be dedicating its resources to compensating the residents of the Gulf Coast who are the victims of this tragedy, not handing out multi-million-dollar golden parachutes," Markey said in a statement.
"At a time when BP should be devoting every possible resource to ending the spill, cleaning up the Gulf and fully compensating the residents who have had their livelihoods impacted, I find it extremely troubling that BP's board would consider providing such a large severance package to Mr. Hayward," he added.
BP has agreed to set up a 20-billion-dollar fund to pay for the Gulf clean-up and compensation, as it works to plug the BP well which ruptured in the April explosion and sinking of its leased Deepwater Horizon rig that killed 11 workers.
Hayward has drawn criticism in recent months from US President Barack Obama -- who said he would have fired him -- and other senior US figures and Gulf residents over his handling of the aftermath of the disaster.
The White House earlier Monday warned BP that any decision to replace Hayward would not change its obligation to clean up the Gulf of Mexico and compensate victims.
© AFP 2013