BP (NYSE:BP) has appointed Lamar McKay to be chief executive of its upstream operations. McKay, currently chairman and president of BP America, will take up his new post on Jan. 1.

Upstream is the part of BP's business comprising its exploration, developments, and production divisions, plus its upstream strategy and integration unit. These business units were created in 2010 after Deepwater Horizon, an oil drilling rig operating in the Gulf of Mexico and leased by the company, exploded and subsequently caused the most severe offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

McKay, 53, is a 32-year veteran of BP (starting with Amoco Production Company in 1980) with a petroleum engineering background. He has been chairman and president of BP America since 2009, serving as the company's chief representative in the United States and overseeing its Gulf Coast restoration work. His successor as president of BP America has not yet been announced.

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