BP claims administrator names interim CEO

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Associated Press

Posted on December 24, 2013 at 1:32 AM

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former FBI supervisor has been named interim CEO of the multibillion-dollar settlement program for compensating victims of BP's 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Court-appointed claims administrator Patrick Juneau announced Monday that David Welker will replace David Odom, who resigned last week.

Welker was the special agent in charge of the FBI's New Orleans office before becoming Juneau's security head in June 2012.

Odom and the program's chief operating officer, Kirk Fisher, resigned last week amid conflict-of-interest allegations. Former FBI director Louis Freeh, who is leading an independent probe of the settlement program's operations, said in a September report that Odom and Fisher formed a company to work on unrelated litigation under the supervision of a firm that is a contractor for the BP settlement program.

In a statement Sunday, Juneau said Odom and Fisher were leaving to pursue "other business opportunities." Juneau refused to comment on BP's allegation that the resignations follow reports that the men entertained subordinates at a strip club that was paid $550,000 for its settlement claim. BP made that allegation in an advertisement that ran Monday in three major newspapers.

Juneau said Welker "brings a wealth of program experience" to his new job.

"His integrity, work ethic and credentials are simply beyond reproach," Juneau said in a statement.

The search for a permanent CEO will start immediately, the statement said.

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