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Pressure at the Top

Duration:
18 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 18 June 2010

How do CEOs like BP's Tony Hayward cope with the pressure of crisis? For six hours on Thursday, Mr. Hayward faced a barrage of hostile questions from American lawmakers, about the oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

It was the low point in a bad week for him. BP had its credit rating downgraded, suspended paying its dividend, set aside $20 billion for a compensation fund, and Tony Hayward got a personal telling-off from the President of the United States.

How do business leaders cope with such severe pressure? Some use coaches or mentors. Lesley Curwen talks to Steve Tappin, who describes himself as a confidante of CEOs; he coaches twelve of Britain's FTSE bosses. His former clients include Lord Browne, who was at the helm of BP in 2005 when the Texas City explosion killed 15 BP workers. He says research shows that many CEOs have a smaller range of emotions than most of us.

Plus the BBC's Jonty Bloom reports from Canada, ahead of the G20 meeting there, on how the banking industry in Canada has proved to be safer than most.

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