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Hayward negotiates his exit from BP

Robert Peston | 10:56 UK time, Sunday, 25 July 2010

Tony Hayward's departure as chief executive of BP has been inevitable for some weeks (see my post of 20 June, Hayward's departure: Not if, but when).

Tony HaywardThat inevitability will be crystallised imminently: Mr Hayward is negotiating the terms of his departure, I am told by a senior BP source.

An announcement that he is going is likely to be made in the next 24 hours. And the strong likelihood is that he'll be replaced by his US colleague, Bob Dudley, who has been put in charge of the clean-up operation in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why now?

Paradoxically, the bad news for Hayward is that there has been better news for BP.

It has been widely agreed on the BP board for some time that the damage to the company's reputation and finances that was caused by Macondo oil spill required a change of leadership at the top, the act of catharsis that shows the company "gets it".

But directors also felt that the sacrifice of Hayward should not happen until serious progress had been made on staunching the oil leak and until it was possible to quantify the financial cost of fixing the hole, providing compensation and paying fines.

Well in the last couple of weeks, there has been such progress: BP's results due on Tuesday will contain a provision of perhaps $30bn for the Macondo costs; and a new cap on the well has stemmed the pollution, pending the permanent sealing of the well.

So Hayward's presence, as the executive who absorbs all the opprobrium heaped on BP, is less valuable than it was. And if the moment has more-or-less arrived for BP to start building a post-Macondo future, then it also needs a new public face, a new leader.

However, what will be bitter-sweet for Hayward is that evidence has emerged over the past few days that BP was less culpable for the disaster than many of its critics believe and that the charge of gross negligence against it may not stick.

The worst outcome for BP would have been proof that it cut corners in the design of well. But as I mentioned last week, the fact that the new cap on the well has staunched the flow of oil suggests that it is robust.

UPDATE, 16:48: In an informal sense, the departure of Tony Hayward was agreed by BP's directors in the past few days.

It will be ratified at a formal board meeting before BP's results on Tuesday - and, as I said earlier, Bob Dudley is expected to be named as Mr Hayward's successor.

Although Mr Hayward is being pushed out, those at the top of BP say that the imminence of his exit was in part chosen by Mr Hayward.


  • Comment number 1.

    Why is this man being allowed to negotiate anything? After his recent performance, he should be fired and lose all perks.

  • Comment number 2.

    By his performance over the last few sad months Tony Hayward has shown neither ability, decsiveness or dynamism - all qualities necessary to succeed as a CEO.
    Surely he should walk away from this job in disgrace and empty-handed.
    Why didn't he appear on Day 1 wearing a jump suit and help clean the beaches, birds or even look as if he was slightly concerned.

  • Comment number 3.

    Has the performance of the Chairman of BP not also found to be wanting? When the spill happened he continued on his holidays...

  • Comment number 4.

    Yes. You don' get the impression that this guy woke in sweat at 2 am thinking about putting solid safety procedures in place. New procedures. When you take on a job, you try to analyse its activities and implement plans to gain strengths/ plug weakness.

    He talked big about safety, but had no ideas, clearly.

    If the bankers were slack, Hayward was derelict.
    (And to walk about with a tin hat miles from any danger was a pathetic)

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    What were the odds against this type of catastrophe? But I can quite understand why Tony Hayward wants 'out'. BP too needs to move on.

  • Comment number 7.

    It's people of Tony Hayward's character and disposition that rise to such positions of power in most corporations - that are successful because of people like him who exemplify the corporate ethos.
    It's tiresome to see yet another chief exec take the hit for being the best at what he does (though what he does isn't very nice).
    No , the problems far bigger, more pervasive and insurmountable that poor old Mr Hayward.

    As for all the leaked oil.
    Do we just need to throw a match at a fish and it'll cook itself?
    Mr Hayward, there's a business opp' there!

  • Comment number 8.

    No doubt Mr Hayward will 'negotiate' a handsome 'golden goodbye'. Shame on you, Mr Hayward! If you are going to leave, please do so without negotiating anything, but if you must, then donate 100% of it to the 'poor' people of the Gulf, and those dispossessed of their livlehoods by your company's crass actions!

  • Comment number 9.

    Tony Hayward's will 'negotiate' his exit because it's a significantly positive event for BP. America will get a 'face' of BP that has the right accent, people can continue to point the finger at TH and all will become good in the world.

    As the writer above notes, Tony Hayward is a very good CEO - clearly, he's not a great PR man. We should remember that there was never any suggestion he should move on when he was generating GBP7billion a year in dividends.

  • Comment number 10.

    Well he may be negotiating his departure from BP but although I dont agree he is culpable of misdoing because I dont know all the facts, I think he has a right to negotiate. We have arrived at a business culture and surrounding laws where it is so expensive to sack anyone it just isnt worthwhile. Led by the public sector this rule has applied through weak management where everyone keeps their head down and hopefully just moves the person because they dont want the flack.
    Also we see too many examples of bad management at the top being sacked (in effect) by over large payoffs. (viz the banking sector recently).However I was appalled at the grilling he got from American Senators who queued up to make political emotional attacks on him to please their constituents. I thought he handled it very well as a human being. He is after all not "Superman". How would you like it??

    So now everyone thinks they have the right not to be sacked without some too generous goodbye handshake. If you fail in the job (which must be proven beyond reasonable doubt of course),then employment should be terminated only under the terms of your contract without excessive compensatory payments.Compensation may be due however if you can show you did all reasonably possible.

    He has the right to negotiate those terms and ask for more if he thinks he is not to blame (e.g. perhaps wrongful dissmissal) and good luck to him.

  • Comment number 11.

    He's a very lucky man. He'll doubtless get a seven figure pay-off and he's young enough to enjoy 20-30 years of sailng a 100ft yacht if he wants. No need to feel sorry for him. I wish him all the best. A top head always has to roll in a situation like this, even though he wasn't in the job long enough to correct all the safety issues that have built up in BP over the years. As the Yanks might say, BP has been walking through raindrops without getting wet for a very long time!

  • Comment number 12.

    Tony Hayward has been a successful CEO for BP and it is a travesty if he is used as a scapegoat to please the yanks. In future I would hope that BP does not get involved with companies such as Transocean or Haliburton again. The UK government must not allow Anadarko to be involved in any drilling in UK waters because they have proved that they are not prepared to face up to their responsibilities when they are partners in another companies operation. Best of luck to the new wells in Libya.

  • Comment number 13.

    As this catastrophe took place in the US, they are bullying the BP. American Companies have involved similar or worse incidents including Bhopal. Why there is double standards?

    Most global problems are not resolved due to double standard policies of so called International Community and powerful nations.

  • Comment number 14.

    P.s Looking for an experienced crew, Mr. Hayward?

  • Comment number 15.

    Ann440 hits the nail on the head. The poor fellow has indeed been made a scapegoat, quite probably to appease Obama's posturings and table thumpings when his ratings are slumping. Has he yet been advised on the effect any punitive measures against BP will have on his own oil revenues and US pension funds?

    How interesting that Tony Hayward's suggested successor happens to be a US operative, notwithstanding that he is probably good at his present job of cleaning up the mess. But is he good enough and have the right qualities to have prevented the accident in the first place?

  • Comment number 16.


    This has come about because of your BBC bosses' craven worship of NuLabour, whose equally craven submission to the will of the USA (BLiar the Poodle, remember, and the illegal war, the one-sided extradition treaty etc.?), which now takes some time to re-balance.

  • Comment number 17.

    The Prez says he has to go, so that's that.

    And bankers take note: The Prez also said that bankers had contributed to the global economic meltdown by trading complex derivatives "in ways that defied accountability or even common sense". I reckon they're next in line for the chop, and good riddance. We can't trust these "Mr Beans" with anything important.

  • Comment number 18.

    What's to negotiate? Oh yes which entrance he should leave by.

    PS Let's hope the Libyan health and safety officials are more stringent than the US ones; shouldn't be too difficult.

  • Comment number 19.

    The well blew up, people died, there was a massive spill on his watch, so that's it.

    Events like this change our perceptions and attitudes. If we demand more corporate responsibility, perhaps there may be some benefit for the Nigerians with their spills, the Somalis suffering radioactive poisoning, and who knows, it would be nice to think the people of Bhopal might get a bit better treated.

  • Comment number 20.

    Mixed feelings on the issues of Tony Hayward and BP?

    Apparently TH encountered many H&S issues with American sub-contractors in the Gulf of Mexico, and was in the process of attempting to resolve many of them?

    However, the explosion and death of 11 workers and subsequent devastation to wildlife and economy was on Tony Hayward's watch even though it can still happen to any drilling company still operating in the Gulf of Mexico at any time, but their 'draw-back' and 're-evaluations' are, naturally, not reported?

    Such a crisis requires a sacrificial ram - where the buck stops etc?
    Unfortunately, most of those responsible; there are many, for complete breakdown of safety and component integrity will not face prosecution or accountability without decades of legal eagles?

    Mr Hayward, unsurprisingly, will not suffer financially, as current International Company Law stands - although one imagines he will may never recover personally?

  • Comment number 21.

    #5 Ann440

    May I remind you that when you invest in shares the value of your investment may go down as well as up. The only person to blame if have lost 50% of your investment is yourself by not selling them as soon as news of this disaster broke.

    May I also remind you that 11 people died, thousands of birds, dolphins, whales and turtles have died, the eco system in the gulf is dying and thousands of people are out work. Hayward should not be negotiating his 'Exit' he should be negotiating with his lawyer about the length of the prison sentence he should be in the dock for.

    You however are only after compensation from the US govt and it is shareholders demand for profits that pushes CEO's to put profit before if you want someone to blame..look in the mirror.

  • Comment number 22.

    Hayward's just the highly paid 'useful idiot' who will serve as the patsy for this disaster...and will no doubt be compensated for keeping quiet from here on.

    Another Fred the Shred.


    The Truth About Markets, The Illegal Iraq War, The City of London, Libel, House of Saud, Tony Blair, BP, Rupert Murdoch.

    It's a bit slow to start with (as it sounds like they have just woken up), but stay with it.

    They just can't quite pin down the underlying ideology at play.

  • Comment number 23.

    This is an interesting statement: "Mr Hayward is negotiating the terms of his departure." Negotiation implies a negotiation platform; so what does Hayward have under his platform that would cause BP (as a whole) to want to negotiate?
    Is it the fact that Gulf Deep Sea Drilling site was bypassed for inspection; is it the fact that inspection could be rated somewhere between lax and sloppy, and was conducted by "fellows" too tight with the oil industry.
    How is BP doing better? It slapped a cap on the leak; the cap is holding but there are signs of other leakages, suggestion of a serious disturbance to the earth-crust mantle. Something must sooner or later be done about the cap; it's only temporary, not designed to cap the pressure ad inifintum.
    In spite of this leadership change, I for one do not believe that BP "gets it". Do you believe that BP gets the threat from all that methane gas, just waiting to go boom? Do you believe that BP gets the level radiation percolating from the various elements at this depth? Do you believe that BP believes that poor little cap can withstand the pressure at this depth?
    Excuse me, but I beg to differ:
    - Staunching the oil leak is not satisfactory. A permanent solution must be implemented.
    - Quantifying the financial cost of fixing the hole, providing compensation and paying fines does not translate into making all persons who suffered damage whole. Already Feinstein is wriggling.
    Please tell me what the permanent seal will entail. Is the permanent plan to nuke the site?
    If a post-Macondo future depends on a new face, it will not be the face of any man; it will be the face of that spewing, spouting, spilling, non-stoppable spill that will sooner ot later explode from under the pressure of methane, gas, oil, rubble and God knows what else...
    The cap is like a band-aid on a cut. Wait for the real bleeding to start.
    Bad, bad, bad news: BP is less culpable for the disaster than many of its critics believe, the charge of gross negligence against it may not stick. Well, well, why doesn't this surprise me?
    So, who is to blame? The inspectors who failed to inspect?
    The new cap on the well, staunching flow temporarily while increasing pressure?
    The persons who selected the site, decided on depth?
    The new cap on the well has staunched the flow of oil suggests that it is robust...Nope, it suggests that there are other leaks which is why the gauge reading is not proceeding upwards as much as expected.

  • Comment number 24.

    Time for him to move on. Another failure? OK. Put him in charge of the Post Office, in charge of University reform, education, the NHS? There must be a big time post for him somewhere, just to show us nobodies that we need these elite bunch of bosses.

  • Comment number 25.

    Pity about Obama, probably thinks now that he is Lord of the Universe, able to dictate terms to the UK and
    get instant obedience. He was a decent sort of a fellow, as politicians go, but " too much power....."
    Although, he could never have had enough power to stand up to the USA's corrupt lobbyists. Pity about Tony Hayward too. Seems he was a first class CEO. But still, BP's loss will soon be another company's gain.
    And so the Circus continues. But the cost of a seat is becoming more and more expensive for the rest of us.

  • Comment number 26.

    I think the criticism of Hayward and his mooted replacement is misplaced. Hayward did a lot to improve the group's approach to safety. It has yet to be shown that BP's negligence caused the spill. The investigation will show whether it did, or not. Assuming for now, for argument's sake, that it did, the negligence would seem to lie in the US subsidiaries taken over in the last years. It is not unusual for improved safety culture to take a long time to bed down in acquired companies. Assuming this was the problem, I am at a loss to see how appointing the head of those American operations as Chief Exec solves that issue.

  • Comment number 27.

    17. At 1:08pm on 25 Jul 2010, Jacques Cartier wrote:
    The Prez says he has to go, so that's that.
    And bankers take note: The Prez also said ...

    Fair comment. Johann Hari's article "How Goldman Sachs gambled on starving the world's poor - and won" was posted to this forum recently, I think by copperDolomite. Mainstream economists don't draw too many direct consquences from the economic disaster, but I assume it would dwarf the BP disaster by ten, a hundred or a thousand times in terms of death, loss of livelihood and suffering. Hysterical or otherwise, let's hope the American capacity for defending themselves against BP translates into proportionate accountability and retribution in general. Not just big oil.

  • Comment number 28.

    @ 2. At 11:54am on 25 Jul 2010, acorn wrote:

    > By his performance over the last few sad months Tony Hayward has shown
    > neither ability, decsiveness or dynamism

    I agree on the first two counts, but I strongly disagree on the last point. He has been the very picture of the "dynamic CEO" lately, flitting around everywhere, talking to everyone, agreeing to anything.

    It goes to show how damaging “random dynamism” without wisdom has been to British industry as a whole. We’ve suffered the “thrusting, egoistic boss” syndrome for far too many decades. There’s something sycophantic about the British that makes them respond subserviently to “schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas”, as John Lennon put it. If only we could all behave like him and less like the Tony Haywards and Sir Greedies of this world, Britain would be far better place to live.

  • Comment number 29.


    Let's get paying this guy off and starting working how much more to pay the next guy!

    Yeeeeeeeeeeeee haaaaaa! - the wild west lives on.

    I think everyone at BP deseves a pay rise, and you, and me, we should all fill our boots with a bundle of our funny money.

    I heard Tony only gets half a mill a year payout from his pension - I sure Sir' freddie greedie got a better deal than that.

    Never mind Tony, you were only 'responsible' for damaging the gulf coast - sir freddie helpe bring the world to it's knees! - must try harder.

    I'm having a bonfire tonight, come round - I'm torching £150,000 in cash as it's cheaper than charcoal.

    Not hot cocoa though - it's getting hard to come by...

  • Comment number 30.

    Don't be fooled by this latest development at BP! It's just an exercise in obfuscation.

    Max Keiser On The Edge With Alex Jones
    Alex Jones talks about the surveillance state now being reported in MSM.

    Note: Over 73,000 blogs were taken down in the US this week, by force, with the FBI claiming that Al-Qeada might be implanting messages via the blogosphere.

  • Comment number 31.

    Another golden hand shake for failure. I wish my dad had told me when I was a kid that the worse I was at anything, the better off I'd be!
    19. At 1:39pm on 25 Jul 2010, PacketRat wrote:

    The well blew up, people died, there was a massive spill on his watch, so that's it.

    And all those old rusty BP pipelines that have been left to leak across the planet.

    BP is one awful company. It will take more than changing the CEO to turn BP into a company any right-minded person would want to deal with.

  • Comment number 32.

    This is nothing but the American takeover of the largest British company by stealth. In 2008 the whole world was cheated by American sub-prime mortgage swindle, now the takeover of BP in the name of Gulf of Mexico disaster. American deception knows no bounds.

  • Comment number 33.

    "Pity about Obama, probably thinks now that he is Lord of the Universe, able to dictate terms to the UK and
    get instant obedience. He was a decent sort of a fellow, as politicians go, but " too much power....." "

    I think the US will come to regret the day that they caused Hayward's departure. I do not know for sure but I suspect his American replacement might now look at every claim through a strictly legal microscope and a lot less will finally get paid out and be delayed over many more years (the usual model for US majors with large-scale claims).

    As for Obama, yes he does seem a nice chap but I also get the impression that noone is actually running the US's foreign relations policy.

    We've had the Clinton gaffe over the Falklands, the unattractive sight of the Pentagon wanted to hang draw and quarter a harmless amateur hacker, sabre-rattling designed to really upset a totally crazed N. Korean regime armed with nukes, Obama trying to deflect domestic criticism with the old trick of xenophobia (BP is "British" etc), the Senate fuelling that with a fictitious link to Megrahi's release.

    Its enough to make you wonder what is really going on over there and what is coming next.

  • Comment number 34.

    If anything, Tony Haywards biggest mistake was not to stand up to American bullying. When Barack Obama wanted to kick his asses, he should have kicked back. He kept silent and let the Americans walk all over him and the British company, BP. The lesson that can be learnt from this episode is that when confronting thugs, behave like thugs.

  • Comment number 35.

    28. At 2:38pm on 25 Jul 2010, Jacques Cartier wrote:
    There’s something sycophantic about the British that makes them respond subserviently...

    We are a deferential people and it is built in to our legal system.

    For example, a window cleaner recently got fined £1,500 for drowning a squirrel; and toffs get to rip foxes apart for fun.

  • Comment number 36.

    stennylfc - apparently your comments about corporate and individual greed are OK with the BBC (which owes it's very existence to the taxes paid by people working for capitalist companies), but not mine about political bullying as my comments were removed so quickly I'm surprised you saw them. Apparently Mr. Obama has influence here too! The loss of human life is, of course terrible. The effect on the environment appears to me (having watched the same old photos of the same old birds and people in white suits picking up miniscule 'tar-balls' from pristine white beaches) to be MINIMAL. I think BP has done such a good clean-up that the damage will be gone within a year. You're being taken in by US flimflam!

  • Comment number 37.

    I heard that Tony Hayward had actually done a lot to improve Health and Safety in BP during his tenure - not his fault that this disaster happened but I have to admit that his PR skills left something to be desired.

    Let's get the full story behind this disaster and understand what responsibiliy Transocean, Haliburton etc had. They have been conspicuously quiet.

    ...... and in support of those raising the issue of Bhopal - 11 people died in the Gulf - 15000 plus have died as a result of the Bhopal disaster and the land is still poisoned. No US Execs have been prosecuted and the compensation paid is pathetic. When are US politicians going to end their hypocrisy and pass legislation to force US companies to take responsibility for their actions around the world?? and when will US citizens start to make this a Political issue?? A case of "as long as I'm alright Jack"?

    It would be nice to hear British Politicians press for greater corporate responsibility and maybe to raise Bhopal as an example of how not to do it ..... but sadly, I doubt if they have the guts to take on the US on this one.

  • Comment number 38.

    Far more interesting than Hayward going (inevitable) is the appointment of Bob Dudley. So what do we have here? A new CEO who has the right accent and was a member of senior management at Amoco, the rustbucket US oil operation which BP took over and whose operations were responsible for all of the previous safety violations in the USA. But, of course, he is one of the "good ol' boys" whose face fits with the Chicago machine now running the USA. Can someone tell me what is the difference between this politically enforced coup d'etat at BP and the activities of Putin in forcing Dudley out of the BP Russian operation?

  • Comment number 39.

    33. At 2:56pm on 25 Jul 2010, Tornandfrayed wrote:

    "We've had the Clinton gaffe over the Falklands, the unattractive sight of the Pentagon wanted to hang draw and quarter a harmless amateur hacker, sabre-rattling designed to really upset a totally crazed N. Korean regime armed with nukes, Obama trying to deflect domestic criticism with the old trick of xenophobia (BP is "British" etc), the Senate fuelling that with a fictitious link to Megrahi's release. "

    ...and don't forget the accusing of the chinese of 'currency manipulation' - when the revaluing of he juan would acually be detrimental to the US economy.

    They're just spoiling for a fight - they think the demand generated by a war will boost their flagging economy - as it did in 1942.

  • Comment number 40.

    A first class CEO, but unfortunately he wasn't very interested in playing the America's PR game of 'let's pretend'. This is another nail in BP's coffin, merely to assuage the empty-headed, baying rednecks who still want it to be called Amoco.
    Another nail in BP's coffin. What a waste.

  • Comment number 41.

    I don't understand why this has to turn into another "America v. UK..they always tell us what to do. It's blatant racism against the Brits in favor of the yanks" discussion. I don't understand why loss of life is being compared in numbers. I don't understand how BP shouldn't be held accountable because American companies weren't held accountable. Any loss of life is a tragedy. And whether or not double standards and hypocrisy exists is a moot point in this situation. I'm one of the few Americans living in the UK that was present when that oil washed up on the beaches of Alabama. I picked up my share of dead wildlife and had my heart broken in half to see everything tainted by oil globs. At this point I don't CARE whose fault it is. I wish you people would quit playing the wounded bullied martyrs, and I wish America would stop looking to lay blame.

  • Comment number 42.

    #36 Ann440

    You couldn't be more wrong. Obama has no influence on me whatsoever, I couldn't care less for politicians who are driven by greed more so than you are. Your comments on the effects of this spill are beyond comprehension. If you bothered to look beyond the news delivered to you by the mainstream US media, that are controlled by the same greedy corporations that have politicians in their pockets you will see the truth BP is trying to hide.

    From day one they lied about the amount of oil gushing out, first 1000 barrels per day, then 2000, then 5000 then 20000 to finally 35000 to 60000.

    They are buying up all the Gulf Coast scientists so they cannot report on the true effects of the spill.

    They, along with the US coast guard and US govt passed a law preventing anyone not involved in the clean up getting within 65 feet of any oil soaked beaches, dead wildlife or booms.

    They have created a media blackout so the TRUE scale of this disaster is not known, which is why you keep seeing the same pictures of the same old birds.

    There have been reports that teams are going out in the dead of night scooping all the dead birds, turtles and dolphins off the beaches so they cannot be spotted by the independent media in the morning.

    There are reports that they used tractors to scoop tons of pristine white sand from unaffected parts of the beaches to cover up the oil soaked parts ahead of press conferences.

    The Corexit they are pumping into the Gulf to disperse the oil is so toxic it is banned in the UK.

    They are paying the out of work fishermen (who have no option) to do their dirty clean up work and have gagged them from talking to the press about the true scale of this disaster.

    In years most of the workers will have health problems relating to this clean up, most will die an early death and NO this won't be a MINIMAL disaster. By the time they came clean about the scale of the oil spill it was apparent, at best, it was equivalent to an Exxon Valdez disaster every 9 days. They are still finding oil under rocks in Alaska 21 years later, not every species affected ever returned and nearly everyone involved in the Exxon Valdez clean up is dead.

    I have never heard the term flimflam but I can guess what it means, and it is you who has been taken in by BP's BS.

  • Comment number 43.

    As a BP employee I am deeply saddened to learn of Tony Haywards departure. This is not good for BP and I do not want to see the company run by an American. Hayward has led BP through this disaster with dignity and integrity. BP did the right thing, not the easy thing and adopted a position of responsibility far beyond that of any American organisation has even done in the history of industrial actions. What was Occidental's approach to the Piper Alpha, but denial and meeting minimum legal requirements? Did the British govenrment refer to Piper as an 'American' problem? No! Where are the poor people of Bhopal now? There is NO special relationship - lets be clear on that from here on in.

  • Comment number 44.

    If I had read comment #36 before writing my previous one it wouldn't have made it passed moderation due to the nature of the language I'd have used. You have no idea what you're talking about. I've seen it for myself. I've smelled it. I've walked the beaches of Gulf Shores and Orange Beach and it's anything but MINISCULE. stennylfc is right. You're not getting the truth. That may be the fault of the global media or varying governments or aliens for all that I care. But please don't dare to presume you're in the know because you watch television and scan the news headlines. It's offensive and insulting and just plain cruel to have something like this trivialized to further whatever agenda you have.

  • Comment number 45.

    stennylfc, If you look at BP's website you will note that their employees are being encouraged to speak to the media. It's you who's being taken in - the US government is behind any misdirection and my God it's good at it. By the way, there's no way the amount of the oil flow could have been estimated - at least in the beginning. Every Tom Dick and Harry was making guesses and statistically some of them would be correct - but based on no evidence whatsoever. The out of work fishermen, among others, are being paid well for their work but not so well they'd take health risks - they're not stupid.

  • Comment number 46.

    Celebrity - this is what the furore is about. There is of course something fundamentally fake about celebrity. In the end individuals do not matter half as much as both the press and the individuals want us to believe.

    Very many of the 'indispensable' celebrities can be quite easily replaced - they are almost two a penny. So are the bosses of big firms and political 'leaders'. Here I think lies the problem the politicians at heart know that they are entirely men of straw as a the bosses of big firms and chat show hosts. Almost anyone could do their job - yet they con us, the public, into believing that they are indispensable and must be guarded with tens of millions of pounds/dollars of our money!

    They pretend that they are 'in-charge' and making 'important' decisions but in reality they are just puppets! Many of the breed have a tiny grasp of history or general knowledge and make frequent terrible gaffs (I am thinking about the totally inexcusable 'USA led the war in 1940' from David Cameron.) Clowns and glove puppets the lot of them! They are just part of the entertainment industry!

    Now we are being told and 'must' believe that BP has rid itself of the cause of its shame - what rot! I would be fed up with the agro too and would have quit in his position as would any sane person, but the next in line will enter the fray and so long as the USA is economically and emotionally transfixed by big oil the same games will be played just with a slight change of cast. The real problem is big oil, but no one dare say its name for fear of being chucked out at the elections later this year!

  • Comment number 47.

    Given that I was made 'redundant' without having managed to get ANYTHING wrong (and a job that, er, still needed doing), I wonder if BP has a vacancy now Hayward's off? I promise to stand up to all comers while taking a long hard look at internal procedures...

    BP? You listening?

  • Comment number 48.

    He shouldn't have been given the BP's CEO job to start with.

  • Comment number 49.

    He did nothing wrong, what he said was perfectly reasonable,"he was not in charge of that particular project" "he was not responsible directly for safety on that rig"

    What galled the US and the rest of the media is that he wouldn't lie down and become a doormat for the US to wipe there feet on, nor would he give answers where he was not in a position to do so.

    Yes as CEO he has overall responsibility, but as a CEO he delegates to EXPERTS in there respective fields, if he were hands on at every major project BP would be bust inside a week, as no one person can do everything.

  • Comment number 50.

    @36 Anne440 "I think BP has done such a good clean-up that the damage will be gone within a year. "

    How the expletive deleted do you know? Are you an oil/environmental expert? I suspect you are just watching the telly in a comfortable chair. I certainly don't know how long this clean-up will take, nor if the capping process will work. Nor do you - nor does anyone as yet.

    I remember the Sea-Empress disaster in Pembrokeshire - small fry compared with this spill. Tenby stank of it for a couple of months. At the time I told my friends NOT to let their kids help with the oiled birds etc, because this oil contained about 20% of benzene initially. This causes leukaemia and other cancers by skin contact or inhalation. When using it in the lab, you use a fume cupboard!

    Under certain weather and tide conditions, oil and detergent residues kept appearing on parts of the shore for several years, although it was officially "clean".

    The record of big corporations and disasters is not good. Bhopal is the most extreme example. But look at Shell in the Niger delta - I just saw an Amnesty report on that - disgusting! And then as other people have mentioned, Goldman Sachs placed a huge part in the current financial disaster - and the one in 1929. We need a lot more criminal accountability for executives of large corporations: consequences of their decisions make "causing death by careless driving" seem almost trivial (which it isn't!)

  • Comment number 51.

    SpacePirate FTW, I agree with you that BP must be responsible for stopping the leak, cleaning up and compensation - and if Haliburton, Transocean etc are found to be at fault subsequently, then BP must look for the appropriate compensation from those companies. What I am arguing about is the hypocrisy of the Politicians and the poor media performance. There is a bigger story here and that is about the destruction to life and the environment caused by major corporations around the world - and the US Senators that have been baying for BP's blood were conspicuously quiet about similar disasters around the world caused by US companies. Bhopal is still a disaster that has killed in excess of 15,000 people - and Union Carbide and now Dow Chemical did / are doing everything possible to avoid their responsibilities. By all means hold BP to account but if there is one positive thing that can come out of this, it will be a drive for proper and robust regulation in the US and beyond.

  • Comment number 52.

    This blog is peppered with commentators rejoicing in their chance to be scathing with those who occupy high executive office. In truth we know very little except that whatever the events, Hayward did not cut a film start figure in a very tricky situation. And of course you all would. Yes, the Senate inquisitors renowned ( I can only recall their extreme ugliness) revelled in the public support engendered by no less than a President in recovery.

    In reality you are in no position whatsoever to talk or criticise as you without a blink of an eye go to your petrol stations and fill up and when empty will do so again and again. And depart for your fuel reliant holidays that you so naively begrudge these guys. Anyone in their position will now well just how much they find it easier to concentrate on the problem when away from the desk. So easy for the media to pojectr bthe figure of a man on a yacht. Well I can tell you the most complex of problems are generally solved by doing just that.

    I find the flow of words on thes ecomments pitiful.

  • Comment number 53.

    #45 Ann440

    I have been following BP's website as well as mainstream news and balancing it all with the wealth of info on alternate news sites not controlled by corporate interests. Just because BP say they encourage their staff to talk to the press doesn't mean it happens, they just put it on the site so it looks like there isn't a media blackout.

    I agree with you on the US Govt, who have got cover up down to a fine art, but where you are defending BP and attacking the US Govt you need to understand they are in bed with each other and BP chose to dance with the devil.

    As for the leak estimates, BP are meant to be experts in their field but it was not lack of experience that put the original estimates 35-60x less than the final ballpark figure. They knew how bad this was and tried to downplay it and infact have made it worse by pumping nearly as many gallons of Corexit into the well head. This toxic chemical is being used to prevent the oil reaching the surface so from the air the spill doesn't look as bad as it really is. Their own lies meant people like you didn't immediately offload your shares as they painted a picture that it isn't as bad as it looks. Your the loser in this yet you still try to protect them.

    I agree BP are paying the fishermen well and they aren't stupid, but they aren't being told the full risks regarding the health problems they face. Some have asked for face masks and BP denied them as they don't want pictures of clean up workers in hazard gear on the news leading to more scandal regarding the health hazards.

    At the end of the day, like the banking crisis, this one was caused by the same thing...Greed. As CEO Hayward should carry the can, especially for the comment 'I would like my life back' when 11 people had died.
    Sadly he wont be prosecuted, along with the CEO's of Transocean and Halliburton, the regulators and politicians who all have blood on their hands.

  • Comment number 54.

    BP may not be that culpable for the Accident to attract that much of criticism from everywhere but as the subsequent events gone out of our hands reasonless by taking its own twist and turns without a resistance faced from the side of the Company, we were somewhere acted wrong. Therefore, possibly there exist some gaps within the Company in communication front. Under such circumstance one need to take responsibly for the sake of the Company to restore its lost prestige, name and image. We only hope and pray that BP recovers from the shock at the shortest possible time.

    (Dr.M.M.HAZARIKA, PhD)

  • Comment number 55.

    Some of us thought Hayward's departure were a dead cert after the "get my life back" comment

  • Comment number 56.

    #36 Ann440

    Further to your MINIMAL disaster comment I have provided a link so you can see some of the pictures of this spill that BP did not manage to censor and you most certainly won't find on their website.

    You need to give it time to open, theres quite a few pictures, but I hope you take off your money goggles and open your eyes to the devastation that has been caused and which SpacePirateFTW has witnessed.

  • Comment number 57.

    Tony Hayward was a first class CEO. The Gulf of Mexico disaster was caused by failure in operations of TransOcean and Halliburton. BP's failure was the employment of subcontractors for the well drilling and preparation because this was cheaper than doing the job yourself. tony Hayward is the scapegoat for Obama and the rest.

  • Comment number 58.

    Not only "I want my life back" but failed to answer the questions to the American politicians.
    The job of the CEO and the chairman is to "own" a serious problem. It doesn't matter how good he is technically, he has underlings to sort the problem out. He failed to understand the responsibility of the job. Even I (who knows nothing) could have done it better.
    He'll go with a handsome reward and then the chairman.
    Then BP will move on. Just hope Haywards successor isn't replacing him simply because he's American - BP need someone competent.

  • Comment number 59.

    53. At 7:43pm on 25 Jul 2010, stennylfc wrote:
    you need to understand they are in bed with each other and BP chose to dance with the devil.

    Exactly. The more I find out the more disgusted I become with the marriage between politicians and corporations whether it be banks or energy.

  • Comment number 60.

    #57 bertsprockett

    So BP's failure was the employment of subcontractors..because it was cheaper. Exactly, they have made billions in profits and have not invested any of it into their own drilling rigs and teams or safety or advances in cleanup technology.

    Instead they chose to keep the share holders happy with bigger dividends and its now all blown up in their faces. The only reason the US Govt are complicit in the cover up of how bad this is, is it is not in their interests for BP to fail and not pay a penny.

    And now their heading off to Libya ...

  • Comment number 61.

    It's true that Hayward was the fall guy as some posters suggest (although he'll get his £multimillion 'golden parachute). What hasn't been mentioned is who he is the fall guy for? Lord Browne the cost-cutting, corner-cutting previous CEO, that's who. And what is Lord Browne doing now? Oh yes, he's running an inquiry concerning university funding options. God help the university sector!

  • Comment number 62.

    More importantly is Bob Dudley taking over the company. How long before the Head Office gets moved out of London Stateside? BP is not British by the way, Brits and Americans own about the same amount of shares.

  • Comment number 63.

    Perhaps the real bit player in this catastrophie, the one who turned a blind eye to the usual scams going on ion US oil companies, should also negotiate his departure. As the CEO of USA limited. Obahma is a busted flush. He would have had more respect if he had waited for and got the root cause of the problem. But, typical US blame someone else and then set the greedy lawyers on. The US disgusts me in its drive for gold at any cost either human or material. The sooner we decouple ourselves from the US bully the better.

  • Comment number 64.

    Tony Hayward is the fall guy. The US administration are the villains. Why did they allow BP to drill there in the first place?

  • Comment number 65.

    From everything I have read, I think it is quite likely that BP will be found not to be mainly responsible for the spill. The factual finger so far seems to be pointing more at Transocean, maybe also at Halliburton.

    As for Hayward, it was simply easier for Congress and Obama to demonise one person than to consider a long chain of command with a complicated set of facts, and await the investigation.

    Congress and the President's approach was both politically understandable and deeply immature and unfair.

  • Comment number 66.

    62. At 10:07pm on 25 Jul 2010, TedInDenver wrote:
    How long before the Head Office gets moved out of London Stateside?

    Can we throw in some surplus bankers?

  • Comment number 67.

    It is my opinion that all this criticizing of Tony Hayward is a trifle hypocritical , I admit that it was during his watch that the disaster unfolded. HOWEVER he was NOT running the Transocean rig, was NOT making the day to day decisions about how much mud to pump into the well, whether to turn off gas alarms on the rig and a number of other salient decisions which contributed to the disasterous events that transpired.

    When it went wrong, he went to the US to try and head up the response.

    The fact that the US Govt was so hostile, when being hostile was no benefit whatsoever, only encourages UK businessmen and politicians to avoid being exposed to US ire by avoiding doing business there, or politics too (UK politicians going to discuss Megrahi). These congress sub committee meetings where American congressmen are downright rude just shows how ignorant these politicians are.

    The only reason that BP were drilling for oil in 4000 ft in the Gulf of Mexico in the first place is because the US imports half its oil and still wishes to drive SUV's (Witness Barack Obama's choice of vehicle) and the president in his wisdom licensed BP to drill there.

    I have been to the US many times and worked there, and however nice American individuals are, I would not trust an american lawyer to go for justice, or banker to be ethical; only to go for the option that makes the most cash. (witness OJ Simpson murder lawsuit, Enron, Lehman etc).

    The lawsuits that will follow BP are are warning for any firm in the OIL, Aerospace, Nuclear, medical,drug, chemical,(and any other industry where there is a low risk of a mega accident) to avoid doing business there. No insurance firm should offer these businesses cover if they wish to survive long term.

    The world is a bigger place than the American politicians think it is, and also the opportunities for BP are greater elsewhere.

    Unless you live in a tent and ride a bicycle, and accept that accidents happen and are willing to forgo legal action where you may have been wronged, then are we are all to blame for the Torrey Canyon, Amoco Cadiz, Macondo well, etc. It is the price we pay for the industrialized society that we have chosen.

    Finally, in due course this will be seen to be the storm in a teacup that it really is, the important man made disasters that really have made significant impact in recent history are:-
    1.Wars, 2.Smoking Tobacco, 3.Asbestosis, 4.Chernobyl, 5.Bhopal. Any one of these could have contributed to 10,000 times more deaths over the long term.

    Are the Americans involved in any of these ? Maybe people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

  • Comment number 68.

    Tony Hayward has been made a scapegoat by a bandstanding Obama and an anti British Congress. bp and the other members of the consortium plus the rig owners and halliburton are all equally at fault unless proved otherwise by a properly constituted legal body. If it now acceptable for a US president to force an international company into paying $20 billion into an escrow account, cancelling a published dividend and trying to blacken its name about the Libyan episode whic the US has been complicit, then what else will he try next to promote american business. We should all look carefully at the consequences of standing by and accepting these indignities.

  • Comment number 69.

    Is it me that just thinks along these terms ?, I screw up in my job and I get my P45 and shown the door. Bankers, Senior Directors screw up and they get a big cash handout and pension !
    What the hell is going on when you reward incompetence?, be it bankers, derivative traders, senior executives or anybody else for that matter.
    The golden hello turns in to a golden good by! Why the hell should you negotiate with these people to get them out of the job it was the same for the RBS chairman. They win even when they mess up.

  • Comment number 70.

    Presumably the appointment of an American as CEO is a precursor to moving BP's HQ to the USA.

    We'll just never learn will we.

  • Comment number 71.

    I can't believe the number of people on here defending BP and the boss!

    BP has the worst safety record in the US of all the oil companies - folk on here are obviously hooked up onto the internet - so use it to get some research done. The whole oil industry is a scandal that has been going on for years, and it has been being exposed for years. Good grief, it wasn't the local bakery down the road that benefited from the hunt for those elusive weapons of mass destruction that we all knew all along weren't there.....

    Hint: Start with Robert F Kennedy Jnr (yes, his dad was running for election when he was shot) - he's an environmental lawyer and professor, not a politician or even Palast who used to work for the BBC. Just take a look at what he's been saying, what he's been finding and what legal action is being taken by local communities groups and civil society in the Gulf of Mexico.

    So what if Hayward wasn't in charge of the project? What's the point of being the multi-million boss if the buck doesn't stop with him? He sets the tone, he is the leader, the man who has ultimate responsibility. Didn't he know about the lobbying contracts? You know, the contracts with lobbyists to open up the Gulf to drilling, the lobbying to slacken the environmental protection laws, the laobbying for tax breaks? If a company is lobbying an American politician we all know the more the company financially supports the politician at election time, the more likely it is the lobbying will be successful, so I wonder....

    He has a duty in law, American business law that says he must do what he can to maximise profit. Health and safety neglect, ocean clean-ups do not maximise profit in the long run, but they do in the short term!

    BP will, when bought out, be run by people who have a penchant not only for oil, but for US politics.

    £11 million goodbye gift? I'd have him standing in the dock accused of crimes against the planet in Cochamamba, Bolivia. And if found guitly, I think one or two ofthe Peruvian jails may just be suitable.

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

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

  • Comment number 74.

    Even with Tony Hayward gone, I don't expect that operations at BP or the other oil companies will change much, except that perhaps, in their own self-interest, they may, in the future, not skip a series of safety tests and not ignore warnings that things are not right with the drilling operation. The culture of production trumping safety is deeply embedded in the operations of Big Oil.

    The US regulatory agencies did not do their job, either, and are partly to blame for the disaster. Amongst the corporations the blame game is in full force. BP blames Transocean and Halliburton, and Transocean and Halliburton kick the ball back to BP.

    Hayward can have his life back now and need not be concerned about going on the dole.

  • Comment number 75.

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

  • Comment number 76.

    Until the cause of the incident is known how can anyone evaluate whether BP and TH were at fault.I think the USA should be ashamed as in effect they are abusing their power.

  • Comment number 77.

    Tony i feel real sympathy for you in the way you have been dealt these cards. No one wanted this to happen least of all you and you have been used as a scapegoat and used to an even greater degree as a punchbag by the americans as a mid term election campaign punchbag. Obama stop pointing the finger at everyone else it was an american rig and an american crew well done on pulling a PR card to absolve you and america of any wrongdoing. BP has worked tirelessly to put things right with Obama using this as a complete hot potato. Stand up Obama be a man for a change

  • Comment number 78.

    Hayward would not have been aware of the detail of what what going on with the Macondo well. He will have been aware that his predecessor - Lord Browne - had bought Amoco and Arco; and that these `assets' had already brought their fair share of grief - eg the Refinery explosion. BP had become too focussed on the bottom line, and scaled back the `in depth' Engineering capability that used to exist within the Company. Safety conscious Professional Engineers are always a drag on the bottom line, because they want to do the job properly, which usually means more capital expenditure. So there will always be tension between the Explorers, Professional Engineers, and the Commercial people. What has happened within BP is that the checks and balances within the Company have got out of kilter, possibly exacerbated by the US acquisitions, and the US style of doing oilfield development.

  • Comment number 79.

    re #50
    I wouldn't want to minimise what has happened in the GoM, but we do know (without being biologists or naturalists) that after 'Katrina' (when everyone was similarly exercised about the devastation) 'nature' proved remarkably robust and had largely recovered within months. Unlike the inhabitants of the area, some of whom are still waiting for permanent re-housing and the rebuilding of their communities and economies.

    The unseen problems - damage to the food chain - human and wild may take rather longer to be cleansed. The loss of the oil we could also have done without.

    It may be more important to remember that there are eleven families who are missing members, and as the daughter of someone killed in an oil field accident a while back, said on radio in the last day or so, "Every time something like this happens it reminds us of our own tragedy."

  • Comment number 80.

    I consider it very unjust for a highly intelligent man to have been so ill treated by America. He is, or was, the CEO of an enormous enterprise that for many years has assisted in satisying the USA desire to use ever increasing quantities of oil. I do not believe there is a CEO on the planet of a company the size of BP that could, or even be expected to know every last detail of what was going on at every operational site. It seems that someone had to be blamed and Tony Hayward got the short straw, mainly because he was a straight taking, genuine human being. Everyone with an ounce of common sense knew what he meant when he said he wanted his own life back. BP was dedicated to cleaning up the mess and he was on with the task. There was no slight to those who lost their lives and Tony Hayward was a CEO, not a PR man. For him to have to leave his post is an enormous waste of one the most talented men in the oil industry and all to satisfy the failing figures of a failing president. Obama should be ashamed of himself.

  • Comment number 81.

    Mine would be yet another comment. But Obama did what he has said. Kicked Tony's arse. Follow this link for more info. I agree with the author.


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