Posts Tagged ‘Tony Hayward’


We’ve seen it before: BP installs a new CEO and promises big change.

But it doesn’t happen; witness the continuation of BP’s horrific safety record after outgoing CEO Tony Hayward was elevated to the top spot in 2007. Hayward promised to focus “like a leaser beam” on safety. So much for that.

BP’s culture of recklessness runs deep. Cutting corners in the name of efficiency is the company’s MO. As a consequence, we saw the 2005 Texas City refinery explosion that killed 15 workers and came right after a consultant warned about perilous conditions at the refinery, the 2006 Prudhoe Bay pipeline spill and the current Gulf of Mexico disaster. It is clear that BP prioritizes short-term profits at the expense of worker safety and the environment.

Incoming CEO Robert Dudley must initiate a top-to-bottom reconstruction of the company and resist the urge to simply do a PR facelift of the kind favored by Hayward and his predecessor, Lord John Browne. Americans rightly demand corporate responsibility, and Dudley must deliver by fixing a broken BP culture and instituting reforms that prioritize safety and environmental stewardship. Such a commitment must be felt in the ranks of managers and employees – not simply echoed on expensive TV ads.

Just as important, Dudley owes it to the communities in the Gulf and beyond to pledge the full resources of the company to paying what is owed. Dudley must assure families harmed by the ongoing crisis that he will take no steps to shield BP’s assets from exposure to liabilities stemming from the Gulf disaster. If the company is genuine in its claim to wanting to turn the company around, this would be a good start.

Tyson Slocum is the director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program.

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Finally, BP has realized Tony Hayward is not viable as the oil giant’s CEO. Various news outlets are now reporting that Hayward will be asked to resign effective this fall.

Hayward is not simply, as CNN called him, a “gaffe machine.” He has actually been a disastrous CEO. He ignored safety concerns raised by BP employees and other regulators. He skimped on basic safety precautions all because of the potential for more profit. Yet looking just at the numbers that drove Hayward shows not everything has gone all that well. BP’s stock price has dropped dramatically since Hayward took office. Just a few weeks ago, BP stock was trading at under $30 a share. That’s down from just under $70 when Hayward became CEO in May of 2007. In a world where a woman can be fired simply because of an edited video clip and an irrational fear of right-wing lunacy, it is a wonder Tony Hayward is still around.

This story contrasts with the controversy du jour involving Shirley Sherrod. It is incredible that Tony Hayward has hung around so long after committing so many devastating mistakes. How can someone who has so clearly been a terrible executive be kept around for so long? Sherrod was fired within hours of the start of that manufactured controversy. There has been far more evidence of Hayward’s mistakes (and purposeful ignorance) for months.

Spiderman is told, “With great power comes great responsibility.” If anyone was getting concerned that this seemingly common-sense statement might not be realized by BP’s board, you can now take some solace. There is still much to do but it is nice to know that sometimes, eventually, the people actually at fault are punished for the problems of the world.

Whether new leadership takes a new direction with BP will depend on pressure from the government. What the government does is up to us. We must continue to pressure BP to do what is right by holding our lawmakers accountable. BP will be lobbying hard in Congress. We must do the same.

Make your voice heard!

Boycott BP here: beyondBP.org

Fight back against corporate power: dontgetrolled.org

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According to the New York Daily news, BP CEO Tony Hayward canceled his plans to speak in London at the World National Oil Companies Congress meeting on Tuesday. However BP refuses to say where he really is.  A BP spokesperson said Hayward was too busy with his “very heavy schedule of commitments” relating to the oil covered Gulf coast.

However Hayward is not on the Gulf Coast, and was just seen this weekend taking a day off to see his 52-foot yacht compete in a race off England’s shore. A BP spokesperson claimed that Hayward just wanted “to spend a day with his family.” However people, especially Gulf Coast residents, are starting to get furious with Hayward’s lackadaisical response in recent days to the disaster.

A few days ago, representatives from BP stated Tony Hayward has “been relieved of his duties day-to-day relating to the spill,” and managing director Robert Dudley has taken over Hayward’s role in responding to the disaster.

After all this, looks like Hayward is finally “getting his life back.” Too bad it will be years before the people and animals in the Gulf get their lives back.

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Diane Wilson was led from the committee room in handcuffs for her act of civil disobedience. Texas Rep. Joe Barton apologized to Tony Hayward for the government “shakedown.” Um, what’s wrong with this picture?

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BP CEO Tony Hayward today faces what is sure to be a tough inquisition before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee.

Here are five questions Hayward should be forced to answer under oath: (more…)

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Public Citizen President Robert Weissman (above) and Tyson Slocum (below), director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, spoke at today’s “citizen’s arrest” at BP’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

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