BP has put Mississippi native Bob Dudley in charge of handling the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
The move is an effort to clean up the company's image and take the spotlight off chief executive Tony Hayward, the Englishman whose gaffes have infuriated Americans.
BP confirmed that Dudley is now the point man in the mission to stop the oil gusher and deal with the economic damage it has caused.
The 54-year-old Dudley grew up in Hattiesburg, Miss., an easy drive from the coast. He had led BP's operations in the Americas and Asia and is no stranger to tough situations. He protected his company's interests in rough dealing in Russia even when he was barred from the country.
Dudley spent two decades climbing the ranks at Amoco, which merged with BP, and lost out to Hayward on the CEO's slot three years ago.