NEW ORLEANS, La. - BP has chosen the first American to lead its company.  Robert Dudley will take over as BP's new Chief Operating Officer when Tony Hayward steps down on October 1st.

BP has assured its London stock holders they have learned many lessons from the Gulf Coast catastrophe.

BP Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg said, "we are taking a hard look at ourselves, what we do and how we do it. What we learn will have implications for our ways of working, our strategy and our governance."

Svanberg said the company's priority is to stop the gulf leak completely and clean up the damaged land and ocean. They also plan to compensate those whose livelihoods who have been lost due to the oil spill.

Three years ago, Dudley had lost the CEO position to Hayward.

"I don't particularly like talking about myself, but I think you will find I listen hard and carefully to people and have worked
with restructuring organizations to achieve change," Dudley said. "I did not seek out this job. I was asked to step into these shoes, and I firmly and deeply believe that BP is a company made up of great people and great businesses."

Dudley will be based in London at BP's headquarters.