CBS is now reporting that Tony Hayward, embattled yacht racing CEO of BPplc, will be stepping down in October, moving to take a job at the company’s joint venture in Russia, TNK-BP. I guess they figure he can’t screw that up much, or else the Ruskies will ship him off to Siberia for a little ice dancing and potato peeling. Bloomberg i s also reporting that American Bob Dudley will replace Hayward.
Brought in on the heels of Sir John Browne’s disastrous tenure, everyone had high hopes that Hayward would usher in a new era of corporate responsibility and safe operations for BP. Unfortunately, the DNA of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which exploited Iran’s oil resources for 70 years enslaving tens of thousands of Iranians, then compelling the US to use the CIA to overthrow a democratically elected prime minister in order to reinstate a corrupt Shah runs deep in BP. Even with the new corporate name, along with the green and yellow daisy logo, they can’t seem to break out of robber-barron mode. Hopefully, Dudley can have some influence, but as long as their Chairman of the Board is an aristocratic Swede who looks at all others as “small people“, I don’t have a lot of hope.
I’ll refrain from calling Hayward a Toffee-Nosed, Yacht-Racing-Snob as others have called him. I’ll just continue to hope that without him, BP will at some point have a chance gain a soul and remember the now 26 Americans who have been killed in two BP accidents, 5 years apart. Safe operations and profit are not mutually exclusive. You just need a management who cares enough to make it so.