bp logoHOUSTON–BP Plc (BP, BP.LN) said Tuesday it has named John Minge president of its U.S. unit, BP America, Inc.

Mr. Minge succeeds Lamar McKay as BP’s chief representative in the U.S., a key role for the London-based energy giant, which has massive oil production operations in Alaska and the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, large refineries, and its biggest concentration of employees worldwide.

Mr. McKay is heading BP’s Upstream business.

Mr. Minge led BP’s Alaska operations since 2009, where under his tenure BP achieved the lowest recordable-incident rate in its history, the company said. He was also formerly posted in Indonesia, Vietnam and China.

The appointment comes as BP seeks to move past the shadow cast by the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in 2010, in which a drilling rig accident led to an explosion that killed 11 and to a massive oil spill in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The spill’s costs to BP were massive and prompted a major restructuring of its operations, which included asset sales and a revamping of safety procedures.

BP has settled criminal charges with the U.S. Department of Justice and with individual plaintiffs in the U.S. Gulf Coast, and is still looking to resolve civil litigation related to the spill.

At the same time, the company seeks to invest billions into exploration opportunities in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, where it’s the largest oil and gas producer and has been a successful prospector.

“John Minge has done a superb job in Alaska, where he has led the way in enhancing safety and making BP Alaska a stronger business,” Mr. McKay said in a statement. “His background prepares him well for the challenges of representing BP in the U.S., which is home to our largest and most diverse portfolio of businesses anywhere in the world.”

Mr. Minge, a graduate of Washington State University, will start his new role on Feb. 15, BP said. He will be based in Houston.

BP has about 23,000 employees in the U.S. and has invested $52 billion in the U.S. over the past five years, it said.

Write to Angel Gonzalez at angel.gonzalez@dowjones.com

(c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company

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