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Hayward's departure: 'Not if, but when'

Robert Peston | 19:07 UK time, Sunday, 20 June 2010

Tony Hayward looks like a dead chief executive walking.

Having spoken to those at the top of BP, none can come up with a scenario in which Mr Hayward stays at the helm of the bedraggled oil company longer than the proper capping of the leaking well and some kind of quantification of the financial damage.

How so?

It's not (or at least not yet) the result of the forensic investigations of who precisely was to blame both for the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon and the absence of a reliable process for stemming the leak.

Nor is it the direct consequence of Mr Hayward's hat-trick of public relations own goals, from the plea to reclaim his private life, to his refusal to answer questions put to him by a Congressional subcommittee on Thursday, to yesterday's participation in a JP Morgan yacht race around the Isle of Wight.

It's simpler than all that.

BP has suffered the kind of blow to its finances and its reputation (dividend suspended, share price down 45%, credit rating trashed, viewed as contemptible in much of America) , from which rehabilitation is impossible without a change of leadership - or at least, that is what those with significant influence over this business have, with a heavy heart, concluded.

That said, BP's directors would prefer that Mr Hayward isn't forced out by the weight of US political pressure too quickly.

Why would that be?

Well, right now Mr Hayward is performing an incredibly valuable service to BP.

He is absorbing most of the opprobrium heaped on BP by the White House, Congress, the media and Gulf Coast residents.

The danger of replacing him now is that his successor would quickly be tainted - and could then become a lame duck rather than a new start.

It's all a bit redolent of the board's preference to delay the suspension of the dividend - which turned out to be impossible.

What may have made it harder for Mr Hayward to linger on the bridge of this vast lumbering supertanker of a company was Friday's interview on Sky with BP's chairman, Carl-Henric Svanberg.

The important background here is that the British boardroom tradition is that unless a chief executive is minutes from being sacked, the duty of the chairman is to say that he's doing a tip-top job.

The chairman may harbour doubts. But unless and until the dagger is firmly planted between the chief executive's shoulder blades, the chairman is not supposed to give a hint of those doubts to the wider public - for the good reason that it is pretty difficult for a chief executive to do the job if the owners and employees of the company fear that his or her days may be numbered.

In the face of savage criticism of Mr Hayward, Mr Svanberg did not once leap to his chief executive's defence. All he would say is that he would not judge his colleague prior to receiving the conclusions of assorted probes into the Gulf of Mexico debacle.

So if Mr Hayward has a growing sense of his own impending professional doom, he probably needs to look no further than to his own chairman for the cause.

Of course it may simply be that Mr Svanberg, a Swede who has never before chaired any company, let alone a British one - with all their idiosyncrasies - may not know that a chief executive can be damned in the UK by the mere absence of conspicuous backing from the chairman.

If Mr Svanberg is standing behind Mr Hayward, he'd probably better say so, pretty sharpish - lest Mr Hayward's authority diminishes so much that he can't even stay on as the loyal caretaker who absorbs all those blows.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I would almost feel sorry for him.
    After all, he has become the ultimate hate figure for something that arguably he wasn't responsible for.
    But then you have to ask yourself "What was he paid 6 mill to do?".

    Perhaps he and Fabio Capello should consider a job swap..

  • Comment number 2.

    Robert:

    I am taking a generous bet that the time of Mr. Hayward's departure as BP (CEO) will be in the nearby future....Specially with all of his idiotic comments....

    ~D~

  • Comment number 3.

    Robert,

    I agree with you; the signs are all there and you must see more signals than we do.

    Accidents do happen and nobody is blaming Mr Hayward for that. But he should be blamed for:

    1. Allowing major operations to take place in his company, which he, as a scientist should have examined more closely
    2. Not insisting on a disaster recovery plan.
    3. Saying mainly the wrong things
    4. Giving the impression of someone who is vaguely irritated by the whole affair.

    Once the accident happened his company has slid to a parlous state under his leadership.

    He could be the guy that loses Britain's biggest company. You cannot sit on all the assets that BP has and not expect the hyenas to attack at the frist sign of weakness.

  • Comment number 4.

    Regardless of the blame..I find it really had to understand why this chief executive is so bad at saying and doing the right thing in public. I found my way up the corporate ladder blocked by my limited networking and charm, which becomes ever more important. But there is no way I would have said "I want my life back" or wandered into a congressional hearing (where they were out for blood) without being well prepared to say at least something useful.

    If someone could tell me how he got this job it would do my career no end of good. But then most jobs when you get to that level are who you know and avoiding the mud sticking when you step from top job to top job. Going to be a bit hard to get the smell off from this one though.

    Having said that, there is probably a few quiet non-exec directorships waiting for him and a big pension.

  • Comment number 5.

    I'm beginning to feel more than sorry for Hayward. Whatever he does, Obama & Rahm Emmanuel and the White House condemn him. He's there - they condemn him; he's not there - they condemn him. He's easy meat for the White House and there is beginning to become a foul stench of their tactics.

    Not once questioning or condemning Transocean or Haliburton or any of the other US parties to the incident, whilst claiming that it is all BP begins to look more and more odd.

    Saying that BP aren't doing enough, whilst not proferring any help from the Military (who have in turn said they would do nothing more than what BP have tried), also looks more and more odd.

    If Hayward wants to show some coverage before his inevitable chop, he'll go both guns blazing at Obama, Congress and the rest of the US political machine. He'll win a lot of friends on his way down.

  • Comment number 6.

    Tony Hayward was Head of Exploration and Production before he became CEO! His comments to the US Congress were incredibly arrogant and makes him an even bigger target for the chop!

  • Comment number 7.

    The danger is, while we are all focused on how Mr Hayward single handedly blew up the Deepwater Horizon, and is to blame for all things BP, we aren't focused on how a large corporate beast equates risk and reward, and how tenuous the link between top level command and low level action is.

    My Hayward is now a sacrifical animal who will be finally sacrified at the optimum time, and with him all the evils of the world will suddenly dissapear. Not.

    While a CEO, minister, MD etc may be ultimately be held responsible for the actions of his crew, that person does not and cannot be actually responsible for the day to day actions. Others are to blame, and they need to be named and shamed as well.

  • Comment number 8.

    Hayward won't even defend himself, let alone his company. He just seems to, well, abstain. Quite incredible to me. Maybe he thinks it will all blow over and he can go back to sitting on top of a vast money making machine quite soon. Not the faintest chance!

    BP is now and forever in a different place. Its assets are on show for all to see and nobody is guarding the way in. The pillagers will be over the moat soon.

  • Comment number 9.

    Sadly Robert I suspect that you are right. Certainly Hayward's performance as the speaking clock in front of the Congressional committee was unimpressive. Something sticks slightly in the gullet however about his fate. The committee would have done Senator McCarthy proud as a witch hunt and to expect the CEO of a company the size of BP to know about individual wells (and I am speaking of managerial activity before the blow out) is ludicrous. Then we have the White House lambasting him for a day with his family for the first time in two months; how many games of golf and other relaxations has Obama had in that time?
    I was impressed by Obama's election campaign, but that is history. He has shown himself to be the worst sort of unscrupulous politician over BP, and Mr Barton's description of the $20 bn fund as a shakedown was pretty accurate in my opinion. For a lawyer by training, Obama has shown little interest in legal rights, or the rights of BP's shareholders, of which I am not one.
    The fact is that the American obsession of having limitless cheap energy led to lax federal supervision of deep water activities. The oil companies have probably all taken insufficient care over drilling, and they all have the same disaster recovery plans written, apparently, by one firm of consultants. To blame it all on one man is a bit rich.

    Having said that, Hayward has not fought his corner or made any real points other than a bit of self pity, so his days should be numbered, but because he has not done the best for his shareholders rather than at the behest of a rather lame looking President of the USA.

  • Comment number 10.

    Well if TH is suffering from Bad Press, maybe the whole organisation needs a makeover. Suggestions anyone?
    Big Pollution
    Blatant Profiteering
    Blame Peddlers
    Bad Propaganda
    Big P**

  • Comment number 11.

    Like may, I suspect, I feel sorry for Hayward. He's been in a no-win situation from the start.

    The people who need to be disposed of are those who picked that self-serving **** Svanberg as chairman.

  • Comment number 12.

    I have it on good authority that Mr Hayward blew his nose yesterday!
    What was he doing blowing his nose?
    Does he not know that there is mayhem in the Gulf of Mexico?
    It is his duty to stay rigidly and steadfastly at the helm and not move or even blow his nose!
    Sack him!

    Humbug!!!!

    The man has got guts - he has stood up and taken the flack - OK he might have been too optimistic but boy has he paid a price for putting his head above the parapet.

    He will go as his position is untenable but he didn't blow the well but he did stand up and take the flack. Easy to criticize this, and it is an appalling disaster, but I can't think of many CEO's who would have done the same.

  • Comment number 13.

    > Tony Hayward looks like a dead chief executive walking.

    Fancy going sailing (of all things) when you've caused an oil slick. Pfff - he's a chump, like so many of these "vanity" salarymen in FTSE firms. Look at Sir Greedie - some mums do have 'em...

  • Comment number 14.

    Nor is it the direct consequence of Mr Hayward's hat-trick of public relations own goals, from the plea to reclaim his private life, to his refusal to answer questions put to him by a Congressional subcommittee on Thursday, to yesterday's participation in a JP Morgan yacht race around the Isle of Wight.

    Mr Peston,

    In case you hadn't noticed, Tony Hayward was under oath to tell the truth. If he didn't know the answers then he told the truth by saying so. What did you want him to do? Waffle? Stercum tauri? - on which you bet the Americans would have jumped. The entire hearing was pointless, a piece of typical American theatre: you as well as I know that in America one must be SEEN to be doing something whether one is actually doing something or not. That show did nothing to plug the oil leak. It merely gave America the satisfaction of seeing Mr Hayward told off.

    We're all entirely sympathetic with the plight of those affected by the disaster - it probably isn't the worst man-made disaster in US 20th C history: nowhere near as bad as the dust bowl after the drought in 1930, all down to poor farming practices. It wasn't intentional, just as this oil disaster wasn't. But it's happened and it would be nice to throw encouragement BP's way, not keep talking the company down.

    I value your views most times but this slamming of BP and Tony Hayward is just you doing your bit to try to push the company under. Nice bit of sensationalism. Kicking a company while it's down is an easy bet, eh? In just the same way as you should take some blame for the run on Northern Rock, let's hope you take a share in the blame if UK pensions are affected.

    I've no doubt Tony Hayward will leave - probably with a nice handshake - in his situation I would too. But let's not rub more salt in the wound, eh?

  • Comment number 15.

    "a scenario in which Mr Hayward stays at the helm of the bedraggled oil company longer than the proper capping of the leaking well"

    He's around for a long time then. BP and their contractors are responsible for what is heading to be the largest ecological disaster in history. BP are grasping at straws at trying to stem this mess. Does the future of overpaid board room suits really matter when whole eco systems have been irrepariably damaged and whole communities and ways of life are extinguished. Without the primary natural wealth of the earth and her resources from whence all 'wealth' is ultimately created, money and corporations are as nothing and indeed so is humanity.

  • Comment number 16.

    Very interesting as I read these comments.

    1. Take a close look at the licence partners and rig operator/equipment suppliers and then get down a level and look at their board membership. Any names you know?
    2. How I wish BP would fight back.
    3. BP changed it's name 12 years ago to reflect it's very substantial presence in the USA. It absorbed (!!) Standard of Ohio, Atlantic Richfield and then Amoco. How do you think that went down with our "American friends"? Not very well I can tell you.
    4. Is Obama anti British? Look at his background.
    5. Watch this space.

  • Comment number 17.

    Haywood sets the culture. BP's culture is appalling. It's straight out of the 80s. He should go but nobody who has already undergone the BP lobotomy should be allowed to take over.

  • Comment number 18.

    I admire Hayward for keeping calm in the face of horrific bullying at the US hearing, and for not being tricked into admitting liability by the company when the cause of the accident is no yet known. It was laughable that he was supposed to know in detail the actions taken on the rig, given the size of BP's overall operations. As for taking a day off, I cannot imagine that Obama or the admiral in charge of the Coast Guard Operations have not aken the odd day off themselves from time to time. Maybe instead of parroting Whit House press statements, BBC journalists could do a little investigation for themselves and find out the holidays prominent American officials are taking.

  • Comment number 19.

    I find it difficlt to understand how a Chief Executive of BP can fail so abismally. With the undoubted clout finncially that BP commands it would have been reasonable to expect a PR campaign responding swiftly before any negative comments could be mustered. In the event BP were simply outdone simply because they failed to strike first. Had they shown the slightest sign of being on top of the game instead of following it the outcome so far would have been more positive. BP seems to have been totally reactive instead of proactive. Had the CEO requested a meeting with President Obama instead of giving he impression of a first former called to see the beak some undertanding of the sitution could have avoided the current state of affairs. Unfortunately we now are in position where the lack of undertanding results in a combativ sitution helpful to no one. Doubtless Tony Hayward will need to be replaced in the longer term. Equally if BP is to survive and prosper it needs to be more engaged and focussed on how it is perceived in the world at large.

  • Comment number 20.

    Hayward seems to have actively pushed the orgy of cost cutting that BP indulged in. We hear him in a speech in 2009 talking about having to sack BP staff who thought 'their job was to save the world' and 'not go give value to shareholders.' Which can reasonably be interpreted as 'sack anybody who opposes cost cutting on ecological grounds.'

  • Comment number 21.

    At last I have the information I need. Here all I see is media hype and I do feel sad for Mr Hayward. It is a dreadful position alround, but vilifying this man is not the answer. Investigations underway will provide the answer to this massive situation. The consequences we can all see are devastating, and an early resolution will come when exhaustive work is completed. Mr Hayward is earning his money,fronting BP.

  • Comment number 22.

    Dr Tony Hayward (PhD Geology) is clearly a very smart man, but out of his depth in terms of managing politics and the media - and evidently poorly-advised in this respect. His comments have been disastrous even as the actions of his company since the blowout have been well-intentioned and mostly well-executed. (See the excellent technical videos hosted by BP's VP of E&P Kent Wells for examples of impressive subsea engineering and good PR.)

    Hayward's actions and public comments have fanned the flames of American anger beyond rationality (was the CEO of Occidental Petroleum subjected to public pillory in Parliament after the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster?) But CEOs earn their mega-bucks by being able to handle situations like this by displaying forceful leadership, and not merely asserting that 'I am not a drilling engineer' in response to questions about the safety failures on Deepwater Horizon.

    Mr Peston is right - Hayward faces dismissal after his usefulness as a pinata is exhausted, unreasonable though many of his detractors are.

  • Comment number 23.

    Yes, Hayward is valuable for the short term as the public punchbag but, given his outwardly cavalier attitude in this whole debacle, I have the distinct impression that he'll be glad to be out of the spotlight once he gets his marching orders, along with the fat payout that inevitably accompanies such events.

    So, as he sits on his yacht sipping martinis, he will not give the proverbial toss about any of this and will sit back, watch the telly, pour another one and have a laugh.

  • Comment number 24.

    Regardless of where any blame lies he's proved himself to be spectacularly awful at his job.

    It's also another example of the fact that paying top execs huge amounts because they're supposedly responsible for large companies is just stupid.

    However, when the time comes I'm sure he'll be given wheelbarrow loads of cash to slink off quietly. Perhaps he'll join the clean-up operation as a volunteer.

  • Comment number 25.

    In the days of the wild west the sheriff would arrest a bad man and say to the folk watching: "We're gonna give him a fair trial then we gonna take him out and hang him." So what's changed? The mentality that gave us that sort of justice is alive and well in the US Congress, a collection of mindless muppets.

    Obama knows full well that the principal failure was that of his own regulatory body and he sacked the CEO. After that it was all BPs fault. The Americans never take the blame for anything. Internationally they are still little children, but with powerful toys like guns and trucks.

    The wringing of hands over the Gulf of Mexico's pollution is just another example of American hypocrisy. What has been happening in the Gulf of Mexico has been happening year in and year out in the Niger delta, but we never hear a toot about that. Why should we? It's supplying the great USA with the oil it needs. If the impoverished people of Africa must bear that, well, so what, "it's in America's interests".

  • Comment number 26.

    Odd that you seem to have joined the 'media circus' Robert in being so anti-Hayward.
    I thought working for the BBC, providing a public service with taxpayers money, that journalists had to have a modicum of objectivity?

    So why have you not done more to raise the exposure of the money behind the US-media led campaign against BP that has put Mr Hayward (note the BBC are now spelling his name correctly!) in this position?

    There are Republican interests, along with other oil and engineering majors, including Halliburton with ties to both the media and some of the 'braying donkeys' in the US Administration.

    Isn't it time to be a responsible journalist and show a little more calm?

    By the way, did anyone ask where Mr Obama (or even Rahm Emanuel) was on the days Mr Hayward was with his family?

    Would have thought the practice of good personal parental responsibility puts Mr Hayward in 'pole position' to understand the needs of families in the USA, irrespective of differences in position of power or wealth!


  • Comment number 27.

    You and all other commentators seem to have forgotten that the British taxpayer will be contributing at least £6bn plus of tax revenue to this problem. Where are we going to replace BP's Corporation Tax payments that have probably stopped already? Bet it isn't in the budget as the politicians will just think the tax will keep on rolling in.

  • Comment number 28.

    13. At 10:27pm on 20 Jun 2010, Jacques Cartier

    Aye chump he is.

    I prefer to think of him as being out of his depth.

    Mr Hayward does not have sole responsibility for this mess. They all do. It looks like the wagons are being circled and one sacrifical lamb is being offered up. While he is being whipped we aren't looking at what is going on.

    All of them, from all of the big companies should be putting their heads on a plate. And the Obama administration should be clearing out all those who weaken the environmental regulations no matter whether they are lobbyists, governmnet employees or businesses.

    RFK Jnr gives some clues as to what is going on - in 2007
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcaLo-vjrvg

  • Comment number 29.

    Business is about confidence, and one way to rebuild confidence is to package up all the blame/emotion/etc. in one person and then fire him. Rational? Not really, but it will satisfy some people and probably go some way to "restoring confidence".

    Tony Hayward was in an impossible position in front of the American congress: by American law, he is required to do the best for his shareholders. As there is the possibility of a criminal investigation, he could not share even any preliminary investigation information that might incriminate BP. He was caught between a rock and a hard place.

    I am going to wait to see the outcome of the investigations. Right now, everyone will be looking to sue everyone else and get themselves indemnified from blame, etc. "Whistleblowers" will pop up looking for fame and money and to get their story out first. Is there really a culture of costs before safety? Or were the "risky" decisions taken around Deepwater actually regular decisions now seen in a different light because of the outcome in this particular situation?

    As another poster commented, despite his gaffs--or perhaps because of them--Mr. Hayward is serving as a useful lightning rod for the scorn and anger being directed at BP. I suspect that he will eventually leave BP, but that is an almost inevitable conclusion from what has happened--independent of any actions taken by the chairman.

  • Comment number 30.

    Considering the massive and totally unjustified personal attacks launched on him while he has been executing out a hugely successful containment and clean-up program, it is surprising he has survived.

    He is the only person to come out of this with credit, whilst others such as Obama, Svanberg and now Peston have shown themselves up as obstructive buffoons. They are now a greater threat than the wild well itself.

  • Comment number 31.

    It's the modern day McCarthy witch-hunt. Find an easy target and crucify him.

  • Comment number 32.

    In saying that Mr Hayward hasn't done his job well (and he hasn't) it's not to excuse the disgusting behviour of Obama and the US Congress. The two things can perfectly well be true and of course reinforce each other.

    The crazy thing is that BP have been trying at ground (ie sea bed) level to fix things now the disaster has happened. However Hayward has not made anything of this - he has spent no time extolling the efforts his engineers have been making. At the same time, senior management up to and including himself have, apparently, cut engineering costs AND not put in place a disaster recovery plan should the short cuts lead to a problem.

    So he's a gonner. It's sad for him as I suspect he's a totally decent person.

    I wish the same could be said for Obama. The venom in his 'British' P statements was there for all to see. BP has said it will clear the mess and I believe it. Obama and Congress only seem interested in wrecking this company and applying whatever fines they feel like taking.

    I was always a supporter of the US but now maybe I've seen what many other countries have. It's eagerness to bludgeon rather than problem solve.

    Obama is not the guy I thought he was.


  • Comment number 33.

    My heart goes out to Tony Hayward. He has done all he can in an impossible situation. I'm sure he'll go as soon as control of the leak is fully established. I notice that a whistleblower (with a lawsuit pending against BP!!) has spoken about a leak he spotted weeks before the blowout. May I remind everybody that ultimate control of a rig is, like a ship, in the hands of the Master (Captain). As it was a Transocean rig - that would be one of their crew! End of story.

  • Comment number 34.

    Who would have thought another CEO could have been more unpopular than 'Fred the shred'?

  • Comment number 35.

    Actually Hayward has done a sterling job for BP. He has taken the flack and remains "the hate figure" I've met few who are able to take this type of pressure. 
    Americans will never again be viewed in quite the same way. Sometimes PR must take a back seat - things have to be done!

  • Comment number 36.

    I agree that Hayward has been used as a punchbag in a totally unfair way. Having said that, however, I watch his performances and wonder how on earth he got to the top at BP. He comes across as a pretty mundane individual, completely lacking in the ability to handle the "political" aspects of his job. He may, of course, have a brilliant technical mind, but that sort of person never reaches the top in any organisation I've ever had experience of. So it's all a bit of a mystery to me.

  • Comment number 37.

    Robert:

    We are now hearing that Anadarko is unwilling to pay it's share of the liability, and that Jim Hackett is blaming BP. Isn't it appropriate to note that Jim Hackett is also a director of Halliburton - whose faulty cement job was in small way responsible for the blow out.

    How is Anadarko getting away with it so easily?

    I would also note that most Joint Operating Agreements in the business only refer to 'Wilful Misconduct' of the Operator being a cause for the Non Operators' refusal to pay, negligence is not a good enough reason (bizarre as it may sound - this is in the legal document, signed by all Parties). Maybe someone should ask Anadarko what exactly their agreement says? Hackett is not a legal guy, more of an engineer, so someone else at Anadarko should comment on this.

  • Comment number 38.

    If a future with a £10 million pension looks bleak where does that leave me?

  • Comment number 39.

    Robert,

    I thought you wrote articles for the BBC not the National Enquirer. PR is not going to resolve this crisis as much as grandstanding Obama thinks it will. More to the point why has Obama stood in the way of cleaning up the spill.

    Why has Obama refused all international offers of help? Why has he prevented the Governor of Louisiania building a sand dam in the sea to protect the coastline? Why was Obama only aware on day 25 that the spill was a biggie?

    This is how Obama has handled the crisis day by day:

    http://politipage.com/2010/05/28/obamas-days/

  • Comment number 40.

    #33 Ann440 wrote

    'My heart goes out to Tony Hayward. He has done all he can in an impossible situation'

    A situation I might add entirely of his own making, he introduced a corporate culture (not unique to BP) where short term profit and the pursuit of profit are the be all and end all.

    Did any of them want this to happen, obviously not but when promotion and bonuses depend upon leveraging the greatest profit then the lure of cost cutting in the form of corner cutting becomes too great.

    Those at the coalface know that personal advancement does not rely on doing the right thing (despite the corporate mission statement stating the opposite), advancement relies on doing the 'company' thing, and Tony Hayward as CEO set the standard as to what the 'company' thing is.

    Will Tony Hayward go ? Of course he will go with no doubt a handsome payoff and pension entitlement.
    Will the corporate culture change with a new CEO ? Of course not, the new CEO will be just as driven to cut costs (corners) and increase profits as the last (they will be cut from the same cloth)

    As for Tony Hayward, once out of BP he will probably be back within a week as head of his own sub-contracting company.

    I think he should stay and face the music (the chairman should go as he is the one who employed TH in the first place) and then he can start to change the culture of BP for the better from within, with all the benefit of hindsight.
    (it would probably be cheaper for BP as well)

  • Comment number 41.

    I agree with some of the assessments of the BP CEO performance but I also have a great deal of sympathy for him for one good reason: he is damned if he does the right thing and admit liability as the lawyers would have a field day in court, and he is damned if he doesn't do the right thing as everyone says he is stalling.

    Mr Hayward is the sacrifical lamb in this fiasco - and he knows it. Any senior manager worth his salt knows he is only as good as the quality of information provided to him, and to be fair he has hardly had much opportunity to analyse and check what has been given to him, with every one looking to cover their ar$es.

    Very few of us have had the misfortune to be in such an unenviable position of being in not only the media eye but also under the intense scrutiny of the US President intent on deflecting as much attention away from himself as possible and blaming someone else.

    This CEO IS paid a lot of money, but he is only human and his every single comment - many likely to be completely innocent - are pored over and criticised by people who have the luxury he has not had - time.

    He will resign/be sacked and everyone will stab him in the back blaming him - but the responsibility for many facets of this fiasco lie in many different areas.

  • Comment number 42.

    Lets not get out our hankies for Tony remember this was an incident where 11 people died and which has led to dreadful damage to the environment and is now bringing BP to its knees. I ve worked in the oil industry for over twenty five years while I am not a driller I have experiance of the well construction process.

    1 You don't just go off and drill a well willy nilly there should be extensive and exhaustive planning first. This includes a management review and a peer review (where you stand up and explain how you are going to drill the well to your peers). The planning process should consider everything that could go wrong and what you are going to do about it.

    2 There are industry agreed protocols and practices that have been developed over many years to ensure wells are safe. The biggest one of these is the concept of multiple barriers (BOP's, Casing, Mud, cement etc) to prevent release of hydrocarbon to the environemnt.

    3 The people drilling the well must be fully trained in well control practices and procedures I believe this is mandatory in some places and requires you pass a written exam also you need refresher courses. They should be sufficiently competant and well trained not to have to call the office for advice (sometimes there simply isn't time).

    4 The people managing the driller process need to be very experienced drillers - this is an industry that values age and experience. These guys know drilling is hazardous and should put safety first.

    5 Oil companies employ a wide number of highly expert professional subcontractors to assist them in well construction when these people raise a concern regarding the safety of their part of the process they should be listened to and the concern needs to be addressed.

    6 Management need to do all they can to encourage a culture of safety - this is not wooly thinking but sound long term business and engineering practice.

    None of this is particularly technical and there is some evidence to show that BP do this as a rule in their international (ie non US) operations. Equally it is increasingly clear that these simple commen sense rules were not applied in BP's US operations. This failure of management, leadership and culture can be laid squarely at Hayward and Co. They are not stupid they know how you should do things but they felt they knew better.

    When you know this is the reason for BP's problems you can see why they are so evasive.

    BP has a lot of good people in its ranks many of whom are working round the clock to sort this problem out but at the end its an organisation of Lions led by Donkeys and the donkeys are due for the knackers yard and not before time.

  • Comment number 43.

    The personal attacks and blame directed at Hayward are ridiculous. He may have been yachting at the weekend while the oil well leaked, equally Obama was not behind a barricade in Baghdad with a gun in his hand trying to stop two suicide bombings that led to more fatalities than Tony's rig.

    Senior executives in plc's just need to provide adequate resources to the people that are actually capable of resolving problems, the last thing an engineer needs is to spend 80% of his time explaining to suits what he's going to try and do in the remaining 20% of his time !

  • Comment number 44.

    I wonder just how thick the crust of oil must be so that he can walk on water?

    The reality is that the USA's love and dependence on oil is the root cause of the pollution. President Obama 'has' to fix blame elsewhere otherwise is might stick to every American citizen. To be a little fairer at least the President is making statements about looking to reduce the need for oil - but too little too late, but that is the way that unregulated markets work - first they have to crash before they burn!

  • Comment number 45.

    I thought it would be impossible for me to ever feel sorry for the CEO of a multi-national company, but I do feel for Tony Hayward. He is a former technical man (he did his PhD in geology) and therefore would not rush to give answers to the congressional committee before all the complex investigations are completed. He comes across as quite a shy person. Obama is making himself look ridiculous by this constant barrage of criticism and insults against Hayward - what does he actually want him to do? The Americans have caused fatalities all over the world (Bhopal, Agent Orange etc.) but of course they always think that American lives are worth so much more than anyone else's. Shame on you Obama - I honestly expected better.

  • Comment number 46.

    Yes BP - or at least BP (America) - have a lot to answer for. Yet how many of the Journo's, Politicians, and PR types (eg Rahm Emmanuel)have ever operated anything more complex than a light switch ? Maybe, just maybe, the Politicians do contribute to our World - as for PR types - sorry Rahm your `Profession' scores way down on my `useful to the World' index. So next time a light switch is operated, just think of the electrical and oil and gas infrastructure that has to be designed, constructed and operated to bring you that power. And yes there are risks in any complex operation; the Americans requiring lots of `gas' for their 4 ton SUV's should realise that more than most, but they don't. So Hayward may be the `fall guy' for this, but did he have direct knowledge of this well design - of course not. And did the American MMS Regulator not `approve' the well ?? So before Obama and Emmanuel give any more utterances perhaps they should look at their Regulatory regime ? And was Haywood, PR gaffes notwithstanding, not entitled to a day off after the intense pressure he has been under.

  • Comment number 47.

    Shouldn't the Chair of the Board be resigning?

    Hayward maybe should consider it, but he's actually doing a good job under difficult circumstances and it would be unfair to make him a scapegoat.

    And until a single, solitary positive contribution to dealing with this accident is made by Obama, any opinion he expresses needs to be ignored deliberately.

  • Comment number 48.

    33. At 09:05am on 21 Jun 2010, Ann440 wrote:

    My heart goes out to Tony Hayward. He has done all he can in an impossible situation.


    My heart goes out to the wildlife that have been killed or are in agony right now.

    I have no sympathy for BP, nor anyone in the oil industry.

  • Comment number 49.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 50.

    Of course Tony should go, but it should not stop with him. The whole board must go as well.
    This is about responsibility and it should be recognised as not just coming with a healthy wage but also a healthy does of morality. It is not a mater of whose fault this all is, it is a mater of leadership and responsible actions. Tony should not have to be pushed; he should already be clearing out his desk.

  • Comment number 51.

    This commentary does kind of underline that even the media thinks the sensationalism that they've generated with regard to Tony Hayward is ridiculous.

  • Comment number 52.

    Given that he's getting 6M/year for his 'work' I don't see that Hayward has been doing much, either before the blowout to prevent the sorts of insane chances that were taken in the name of a few saved dollars or after -- to ensure that people are reasonably taken care of and the maximum done to limit the damage (part of which would have required reasonable estimates of the leak rate).

    Other than absorbing (well, and also generating) some of the hatred for BPs ham-fisted response to the situation, I don't think that he's done a whole lot of good ... especially given the kind of money he's being paid.

  • Comment number 53.

    Hayward sits at the top of company that appears to have screwed up big time in the quest for just that slightly bigger profit margin. People are dead and an ecosystem has been obliterated.

    You will have to excuse me for not weeping too much for him.

  • Comment number 54.

    Just one question: another article estimates that the well is now spewing 35-60 thousand barrels of oil per day Is that before or after subtracting the 25K barrels/day that are being captured?...

    Another way of putting it is: Was the well spewing almost 100 thousand barrels back when BP was quoting estimates of 1 thousand barrels?

    Even if the real total is 'only' 30-65K, the original estimate of 1K is somewhere between gross negligence and an outright and obvious lie.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    Robert,

    Lot of good (and reasonable) comments on here today but sadly looks like you would just love to be proved right by seeing heads roll and the comopany going to the wall. What could be more boring, and less newsworthy, than Mr Hayward staying on ?

    Let's give the man a break ! He may prove to be the head of a company with a culture of slackness and ignorance of safety in which case he MUST go. But, let's wait and see ! I am fed up of the suggestions that Mr Hayward should have been fully aware of the operations taking place - should he be overseeing the detail of each in the UK, Norway, Middle East, Far East, Baku. NO, that's why he pays people handsomely to do so.

    And can the man not go and sail with his son for one day ? Probably not seen his family for the last 8 weeks and certainly under massive pressure.

    I suspect one thing that may come out of this is that the American side of BP needs firmer oversight from the UK. I think we will find that there is a very different culture in their US ops than here. In my own experience of working offshore (>30 rigs in the UK sector) it is that the US drilling supervisors (certainly not all but generally) are a different breed - intolerant, ignorant, arrogant, "the Big Man " eg "Hey, boy, come here !". We may find that some of the blame lies with their people on the rig and the culture created there.

    Anadarko - where were you as major partners in this well ? Where were you when programs were beiong reviewed ? Where were you at morning calls in such a high profile well as problems started to occur long before the blowout ?

    I think we will find that there are a number of mopped hankies from the bosses of the other US deepwater operator saying 'There but for the grace of God go I!'

    And, yes, Bhopal, Piper Alpha - some examples of professional, caring US companies in action.


  • Comment number 57.

    Robert,

    Excellent article. And I agree (almost) entirely.

    Corporate boardrooms are not shrines of fairness and equality. They are there to make money. Within the rules, and bending around them (the latter point here is the grievance many of our American cousins have).

    Perhaps we are still caught up in the election hype. What those of us here "feel" towards Tony Hayward has nothing to do with the facts. And this is the critical intangible:

    - BP had responsibility for Deepwater Horizon
    - Evidence is appearing there may be a case of negligence on BPs part (see note earlier bending around the rules)
    - BP executives seem to suffer a poor view of the world (small people, who may yet want their life back, yacht racing, etc)
    - BPs inability to manage expectations of a very proud nation (not ours!)

    Am I sympathetic - not really. If BP isn't good enough, then it shouldn't play hard ball with the top boys.

    Tony Hayward will be very lucky to merely be sacked and walk away.

    And before anyone decries how this is utterly unfair, perhaps best to take a look in our own back yard first?

    ---

  • Comment number 58.

    I would think Mr Hayward will be only too pleased to take his sizeable payoff from the company when this is all over and, as he said, get his life back. Obama and his spokesmen are doing all they can to ensure no blame attaches to them for allowing deep sea drilling and Hayward makes a magnificent Patsy. I would think his attitude to being blamed for taking his son for a Father's day outing would be much the same as mine might be in similar circumstances ie Tough, get over it. Life is too short, and what is he going to be able to do that hasn't been done or won't wait until Monday?

  • Comment number 59.

    The powers to be in this country are gutless. I cannot see the American government allowing one of their own to be put to the sword on foreign soil as easily as our did.

    I wish that BP would stand up and tell Obama to stop trhowing stones and do what he should be doing, acting like a statesman and not trying to rescue his ratings.

    Yes I suspect Hayward will go, but he has more guts than any of those silly children sitting up in their little wooden boxes shouting abuse and asking questions probably written for them by their teenage children.

    So I felt some respect for Hayward, unlike his American counterparts who seem to have been very absent in all of this.

    Can we have some quality journalism now please, and show some support where support is due!!!

  • Comment number 60.

    I would be interested to see an industry wide report on how this will affect the whole oil industry, for example...

    If you were a legislator would you issue a licence to drill to a firm using any combination of Transocean, Haliburton, Cameron, BP ?

    As an investor would you be prepared to invest in any of them companies ??

    How much extra testing and extra cost will now be placed on the whole industry ??

  • Comment number 61.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 62.

    Having just returened from the USA, I can tell you that the country is out for blood.Not because of the oil but because they see an easy target to squeeze money from.

    BP is cash rich, and USA states and towns are reciving cuts to budgets, BP is a way to plug some of the holes. Even parts of the gulf that are unaffected are putting in multi million dollor claims.

    They say that tourisim is down but don't accept that this maybe due to the economy, raised travel taxes, weak currency or for those coming into the USA - an expensive ESTA system that costs a family of 4 £100 to register for.

    Tony Hayward will go, he is now a liability but for those of us that saw the hearing in all its witch hunt glory, have to feel sorry for a man that was found guilty before he entered the room, not a word about the other USA companies and workers involved but this is all about getting some money out of BP.

  • Comment number 63.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 64.

    Surely the American authority who granted the license allowing BP to drill appears to be at fault as they have failed in their "duty of care" to properly regulate the drilling procedures used.

  • Comment number 65.

    "He should go he was clue-less ? {fall guy} but with a very large golden handshake.

  • Comment number 66.

    All of you that seem to be willing to excuse Hayward are forgetting one major thing. The CEO, more than anyone is responsible than anyone for the direction and the culture of the organization.

    It's the CEO who will end up firing the the VP in-charge of offshore drilling operations when and if his platforms come in late and over budget. The CEO would also be the one putting pressure on the people under him to continually do things faster and cheaper to help maximize the profits, all these things that would help fatten his quarterly and yearly bonuses.

    Did Hayward directly tell the workers on the rig not to fix the BOP? I doubt it, but he was responsible for the message delivered to the management of the rig that said "We want this done faster, cheaper, and we don't want to hear about your problems, JUST GET IT DONE." A message that lead to a lot of dangerous risks and in this case just didn't pay off.

    I wonder, if this spill was off the coast of say Nigeria, would anyone even care?

  • Comment number 67.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 68.

    The biggest single beef against Mr. Hayward is NOT that he is in some way personally responsible for the leak. The issue is that his reign as CEO started with a statement to the effect that "safety is job number one", following an unimpressive record under his predecessor. It's easy to make statements like this, but there needs to be follow through with training, enforcement and a culture of respect for the the CEO's philosophy, with professional consequences for any individual who breaches the company's trust.
    To develop a corporate culture requires a lot of work, time and effort by many people. Where are the "safety enforcers" and the "human resources" groups? The information released to date suggests that the senior BP managers responsible for the failed project did not demonstrate these company values. Either Mr. Hayward and the board failed to ensure the company adopted the espoused philosophy, or cowboy managers ignored it. Resolving this question represents an excellent starting point as the company tries to put the pieces back together.

    The one place I would disagree with your article is when you say.
    " right now Mr Hayward is performing an incredibly valuable service to BP. He is absorbing most of the opprobrium ....

    I would argue he is just making things worse, and the sooner he goes, the better. Absent the availability of Dick Cheney, there are a million of us that would be happy to be the "interim fall guy" until the leak is plugged. We could scarcely do worse.

  • Comment number 69.

    Tony Hayward has been made a scapegoat and our press is responsible no doubt about it. His comments were humane and understandable but to sell space on TV and papers, he was tortured. And our Congress was brutal. They needed to take pressure off their abouse of power by nailing Hayward. I feel the responsibility of the accident lies down the chain of command when some mid level management guy wanted to come in under budget and cut corners. Hope they find the S.O.B. With 11 deaths on his hands and the ruination of beautiful waters he needs to be drawn and quartered as only the Brits used to be able to do!

  • Comment number 70.

    I am sure you are right that Hayward will go. Unfortunately this is a result of bowing to the school bully since Obama's approach from the very start has been to kick the easy target rather than wait for any facts. Even yesterday he sends out his Chief of Staff to damn Hayward for spending one day with his son. Has Obama given up all contact with his family until he has sorted out the appalling (and far greater) mess caused by the US in Afghanistan? I really thought the election of Obama was a move forward but now realise I was hopelessly wrong. He is no more than a machine politician with the adherence to both the law and morality of his Chicago mentors. Now is the time for Cameron to show that he can both defend British interests and stand up against the bully. He should announce withdrawal from Afghanistan immediately and tell the US to sort out its own mess.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    64. At 2:50pm on 21 Jun 2010, curitba wrote:
    Surely the American authority who granted the license allowing BP to drill appears to be at fault as they have failed in their "duty of care" to properly regulate the drilling procedures used.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    Or Monitoring, my point exactly.

    1. If they were aware, as Congress Claims, of BP's "POOR" safety record
    then why were the drilling Rights sold to BP in the first place - failure
    in "duty of care"

    2. If they had known, as Congress Claims, that the Deepwater Horizon site was beset with problems and so-called "short-cuts", then why oh why didn't they intervene or stop the Project - failure in "duty of care".

  • Comment number 73.

    What BP needs is a Michael O'Leary!

  • Comment number 74.

    Like many readers on this page I could wish that Mr Paxton demonstrated more objectivity and thought rather than parroting the simplistic utterances of the the American pack. The relentless quest for the sensational headline, (regardless of accuracy) instead of the reasoned story, is not something which should be associated with the BBC. In the same way that Tony Hayward is pilloried for taking a day off to watch yacht racing, could not then Mr Paxton be criticised for penning pap, inconsistent with the standards of the corporation. It would be preferable if the BBC adopted the independent editorial position it is renowned for, and perhaps actively researched some of the spurious "news"
    coming out of the USA on the oil spill story rather than pasting up the headline without question.

    Undoubtedly the press have become the story in this episode. It would be sad if the BBC became, not the story, but the photocopier.


  • Comment number 75.

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  • Comment number 76.

    What do you mean there's been a leak?

  • Comment number 77.

    Isn't it interesting to see the American's reaction an environmental disaster in their own country as compared to the ones they've inflicted on other people. The screams, the outrage, the demands for instant compensation . . . but look at their own record and how the picture changes.For openers, let's remember Bhopal.

    The poison cloud released from the Union Carbide chemical plant at Bhopal, India, in 1984 killed between 10,000 and 30,000 people and left 100,00 to 200,000 permanently injured. Union Carbide behaved as Americans always do, being the back-stabbing hypocritical, psalm singing, money grubbing bastards that they are. It took a mere fifteen years for any major compensation to be offered, a piddling 470 million dollars. The average compensation per death amounted to 1,300 US dollars. Neither the American government or the US courts have ever shown a flicker of interest in pursuing any measure of real justice for the Bhopal victims.

    Then there was the worst man made mess in history, and which was no accident at all -- the spraying of 12 million gallons of agent orange across Vietnam by the US armed forces conducting one of their routine exercises in mass murder.

    Agent orange proved to be one of their success stories: four hundred
    thousand Vietnamese killed and half a million Vietnamese children born
    with hideous deformities because of exposure to the chemical. Mind you,
    the US governemt acted promptly and generously to help deal with the
    problem. It only took them thirty seven years to make the first
    restitution to the people of Vietnam for the Pentagon's filthy war. So
    far the payments have amounted to some nine million dollars. Which
    amounts to an overwhelming ten dollars per life lost or ruined.
    Generous people, Americans!

    Personally, I hope the oil keeps leaking for exactly as long as it's
    taken the Americans to do the decent thing to the people of Vietnam and
    Cambodia. And I hope BP's lawyers spin the payout for as long and as
    little as the Vietnamese have received.

    The one good thing to come out of all this is that all the nonsense
    about a special relationship between America and Britain is finally
    being tossed into the rubbish bin of history. Being tied to that bunch of bone headed murderers is like being hand cuffed to a gibbering psychopath.






  • Comment number 78.

    He's paid enough to take all the mud that is being slung at him.The hysteria will soon die down after a proper investigation is held. The impression was given the bp was a british company, it ceased to be so in 1998 ,that showed how much the yanks hate us. We in the UK should forget about the special relationship it doesnt exist. We should pull out of NATO and afghanistan, scrap trident, make our own cheaper and more appropriate deterrent british jobs for british people. We should never again support U.S. crazy wars that are aimed basically against islam.

  • Comment number 79.

    Mr. Preston

    I see that you are like bloggerrs and media folks in the US. You make statement as being facts when they are not true. You are doing nothing more than repeating US news jerks. The people of the gulf coast do not think that BP is contemptible, and polls show that BP's favorable opinion is higher than members of the US Congress.

    Congress and the US media have no idea what a CEO does. The initial mistake by BP was not putting the US individual in charge of US operations front and center in the blow out After all, he speaks American.

    In an address to a group during WW 11, General Patton said "the British and the Americans are only seperated by a common language"

    BP's stock trades on the basis of expected PE ratio for the next twelve months. Mr Hayward had nothing to do with the drop in stock price.

    I think it would be a great injuctice if the BP Board let stupid members of the US Congress affect any decision regarding Mr. Hayward

  • Comment number 80.

    Lets see what any inquiry says - but what on earth were the Head of Public Relations and Head of Investor Relations doing !!. More importantly what will the compnay do afterwards or like the banks just hope bad press / brand management will go away...

  • Comment number 81.

    #74

    What's Mr Paxton penned? Robert Peston has written a good piece above. Could this be a demonstration of the very inaccuracies you are railing about?

    You're right; too much sloppy commenting going on.

  • Comment number 82.

    Hayward is toast.

    That much agreed, I think its interesting that BP should have taken so much of the hit over this spill.

    It wasn't their rig, and they did'nt make the B.O.P.

    Nevertheless, they are responsible, and have accepted that responsibility.

    The wider issue here is REGULATORY CAPTURE.

    BP, to be sure, was involved in the subversion of the regulatory agency...But so were all the other oil companies.

    This is not a problem limited to BP.

    I am certain that most if not all B.P's competitors could have had the same kind of accident.

    Blame BP if you will, and you will.

    At least they have stepped up to the plate.

    The fundamental problem here is cultural. There but for the Grace Of God...Go All.

    This is what must be fixed.

    And then there is the issue of Bhopal...

    Whats the story...Who is accountable-Ah, That was India...Doesn't count.

    A coal ship abandoned by its Turkish owners at Cape Town when the bill for the cleanup started to rise...Ah...Thats South Africa...Ah well. Too Bad.

    Niger Delta totally smeared with oil...Ah well...Not visible from the Caymans, old chap.





  • Comment number 83.

    The title of this blog should be “BP is Bankrupt: 'Not if, but when'. The debate over who should be fired etc. is then null, all are out of a job.

  • Comment number 84.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 85.

    The man in charge of this fund says he will err on the side of the claimant. This escrow account has been set up before anyone has been found guilty and it has been stated that this will not stop any litigation. While all legitimate claims should be met I think that there it would be reasonable to have shareholder representation on the claims board to ensure this criteria is met. I also think that this escrow account should be set against any future litigation. Otherwise I would have to agree with the comment in number 62.
    Nothing will bring back the men lost on the rig but then again nothing will bring back the more than 700 american service men lost to hostile action in Afghanistan and their families will not have access to this level of funding and media outrage and sympathy.

  • Comment number 86.

    BP's (and TH's) worst error was to be economical with the truth about the scale of the spewage (sic),I am also surprised (BP's PR company is also a catastrophe), that v little mention has been made of those poor blighters (and their families) who lost their lives on the rig; they seem to have been forgotten. Nothing can save Hayward but, I must say, like others on here, I found the Macarthyesque congressional hearing somewhat disturbing. Sometimes I really wonder about the so called 'special realationship'between our two countries-we are world's apart.Obama has n't come out of this well either but he's fighting for his life - and like all bullies, he knows how to kick someone when they're down..

  • Comment number 87.

    Leave him alone.

    Poor bloke was on the spot within 24 hours of the initail disaster which is more than can be said for any US Politician. He has spent more time there than any other US politician.

    He has made some gaffes

    But look at the lies and selctive truths that the politicians have come out with.

    Never mind the incitement by one Congressman suggesting he should commit suicide. If that is not incitement to the public what is?

    Let him have one day off. Let's be hoenst he did not look like he was enjoying himself.

  • Comment number 88.

    I thought BP protected the group by operating through subsidiaries; "BP Exploration and Production Inc" in this instance. Any liability is thus limited to the exposed subsidiary's bank account. Hayward seems to have bridged that fence, exposing the entire BP group to unlimited liability in the USA. What kind of CEO doesn’t realise that’s a bad idea? And for those readers who think that doesn’t involve them, you might like to check how many BP shares your pension fund owns. Ironically the USA provided the perfect model for how to deal with such a situation in their response to the Union Carbide accident in Bhopal. Hayward should have been aware of that.

    Regarding safety, its true Hayward didn't make the fatal decision to carry on working with a faulty BOP. He was, nevertheless, ultimately responsible for the company's safety culture. Engineers should never be in any doubt that safety comes before everything. If it can't be done safely, you just don't do it. Clearly that was not the understanding on board Deepwater Horizon in the days leading up to the explosion. As for blaming other companies; no excuse! BP can impose their safety policy on anyone they do business with simply by including it in their contracts. Most companies do that these days, for example by enforcing a STOP card system that positively encourages all personnel to report safety concerns or breaches immediately.

  • Comment number 89.

    Mr Svanberg's own position is quite precarious. Many have been commenting about how he should have had more involvement in dealing with various issues - yet was nowhere to be seen. I suspect if Hayward goes, Svanberg might not be too far behind.

    Then Mandleson can step in - as he is looking to do. And that will put the final nail in BP's coffin.

  • Comment number 90.

    New idea just in. Let's make Tony Hayward the next President of America!! Then the world can blame him alone for every social, political, ecological and economical mistake they have ever made in the last 5 / 10 / 20 / 50 / 100 years (pick one) and maybe then we'd feel some pity for them.

    I'm sick and tired of reading anti-BP and anti-British slogans, the U.S. seem happy to stand back, get their calculators out and yell at BP rather then help.

    Yes BP was the license operator, but if Tyrone Benton is telling the truth then to me Transocean and Haliburton have a lot to answer for as the equipment and the staff operating and moving should have insisted it can't be used!

  • Comment number 91.

    #83 TedinDenver; happy to say BP liability is limited to whatever value is placed on BP's US subsidiary (probably about $50bn) since all the contracts are with them and they are a separate legal entity. If necessary BP can put them into administration and walk away (admittedly with no prospect of doing business in the US again). That way BP retains the value of its considerable operations elsewhere in the world and the fault is firmly placed and the cost met by the useless (mainly ex-Amoco) management in the US. This is one of the benefits of capitalism and limited liability. Oh sorry? Americans have decided they don't like the consequences of their own system?

  • Comment number 92.

    #83

    Nope, BP is not bankrupt and we won't let the US bankrupt it either.

    It can pay for the spill clean up, just in the same way that Halliburton and Transocean can contribute.

    It can and also will pay reasonable compensation to the families of those sadly killed (and they have been forgotten too much).

    It can and also will pay reasonable compensation to those whose livelihoods have been affected (hopefully temporalily)

    What the UK and BP will NOT allow are punitive, arbitary and self seeking 'fines' to be extorted by the US Congress to suit their own fiscal and electoral ends. That won't happen and the US won't get BP's assets on the cheap. If that stunt is pulled I can see other suitors being welcomed with open arms.

  • Comment number 93.

    Perhaps Mr. Hayward is the sacrificial lamb in this preventable disaster, but I hope and believe that he will not be the last person to be blamed and held accountable. Regardless of whether they are British or American, they need to be held accountable. This is not just a disaster that has affected a few fish, birds, and the residents in the Gulf. One person commented that this manmade disaster is not as bad as the 1930s dust bowl, which caused devastation of biblical proportions. I do not agree. We are only seeing the beginning of the devastation that this spill has caused and will continue to cause far into the future. White sharks are now being found dead near the shoreline as they are trying to flee the oil in the deep waters. While the media focuses mainly on the Gulf residents’ lost incomes, the beautiful beaches littered with tar balls, and the dead birds and fish, we really have no idea of the mass destruction happening to the deep sea animals. An entire eco-system along the Gulf is now dead. It will not stop there. Once the oil hits an ocean stream, it will affect the entire east coast. I cannot feel sorry for Mr. Hayward, even if he was not solely responsible. As the saying goes, “actions speak louder than words.” He may have testified before the Senate that he was “distraught” by the spill, but within a few hours, he was yachting in much cleaner waters. I am not sure about anyone else, but when I am distraught, I lay around my house in my bathrobe.

  • Comment number 94.

    91. At 5:30pm on 21 Jun 2010, alb1on wrote:
    This is one of the benefits of capitalism and limited liability. Oh sorry? Americans have decided they don't like the consequences of their own system?

    Honestly, BP out of America and safe American companies taking over the assets would be a good thing. One other thing you're forgetting is that Americans would still own 39% of the re-organized (half sized admittedly) company regardless.

    Oh sorry, Brits don't like reality :)


    When this started I was not anti-Brit. I'm starting to be and this "special relationship" is farce.

  • Comment number 95.

    90. At 5:20pm on 21 Jun 2010, dugbydig wrote:


    "I'm sick and tired of reading anti-BP and anti-British slogans, the U.S. seem happy to stand back, get their calculators out and yell at BP rather then help."


    Are you kidding? The people in Gulf have been thwarted by BP do to any real clean up at this point. They have resorted to buying their own wet-vacs at Home Depot to suck up the oil that's coming on shore and in the marshes because they can't get BP's permission or help to do it! Perhaps a little browsing at a news feed from New Orleans might tell you what's REALLY happening - or more like not happening - there.

  • Comment number 96.

    #94

    Given the game away there Ted. You're calling for 'safe American companies' to take over BP's assets?! A bit of an oxymoron that one.

    As I said, BP will pay for its responsibilities, dearly. But you're not going to get our biggest company on the cheap. It's you that needs the reality check.

    There is no special relationship. We've helped you since 9/11 and 500 of our soldiers then died in your wars and thousands were crippled. We've tried to be a friend and ally but now the US is looking to stuff the UK industrially in the same way it's done to others.

    If paying every legitimate cent for BP's errors is not enough then shame on you.



  • Comment number 97.

    92. At 5:47pm on 21 Jun 2010, LostatHome wrote:
    What the UK and BP will NOT allow…


    Firstly, the UK has no choice in the matter of fines or compensation. The company is not British, it is a multi-national company, Americans own about the same as Brits.

    Secondly, BP will be paying the fines and all costs unless they bankrupt the company.

  • Comment number 98.

    #97

    The parent company is headquartered in the UK. If you are talking about the US subsidiary it's a different matter. Actually the UK shareholders own more of the equity.

    If you really think the UK government is going to stand by and let the Congress dream up sufficient 'fines' to sink the company and let a 'safe american company' have it, we are on different planets. I share the rest of humanity on mine.

  • Comment number 99.

    #95 KAWags

    I'm here and have even flown the coast. I know what is happenning and it is not as bad as you paint. Of course if you sit watching Anderson Cooper on CNN desperately lie (sorry use "selective truths") his way to a Pullitzer, and listen to Billy Nungesser and believe him, then you may feel it is horrendous. Wrong.
    If the Governor of Mississippi is happy to rent a condo on the coast to holiday then maybe you should to and help the coast recover.

    Hopefully BP will have the guts to sue CNN for damages. It would be fun to see Anderson Cooper and co dragged through the courts and shown to be idiots.

  • Comment number 100.

    Why blamed Mr. Hayward for what went wrong with the Gulf spill, Where are the BP America executives, specialists, engineers etc ? BP America executives run their own organization, managing rigs, and they receive substantial salary and annual bonus. Shouldn't BP shareholders demand Mr. Hayward sack those guys first?

    Why the press are not going after BP America, TranOcian, Haliburton?

    What was the US government reaction during the Exxon Valdez escapade? Did they demand Exxon setting aside a "special 20B" cleaning fund ?

    Brits should think twice about the "special relationship" with the Yanks!

 

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