(Jas’ note: Tony Hayward will be replaced, effective Oct. 1, 2010. This post was written on July 26, prior to the announcement.)
“I think the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest.”- Tony Hayward
Certainly quotes like the above by Tony Hayward, CEO of British Petroleum (BP), did not help with his public image in the wake of the Gulf oil spill. There have been reports that Hayward is out, while BP says no decision has been made. My ultimate question is whether his presumed ouster will truly matter.
Was this all Hayward’s fault– the spill, the slowness in clean-up response, the delayed capping? No, it wasn’t.
Before you burn me at the stake for taking this position, let me explain. I am NOT exhonerating what BP did (or did not) do. Their crisis communications have been horrible and Hayward should know better than to utter the whole having his “life back” thing. A region is devastated and you are worried about your posh life?
What I AM saying is that regardless if Hayward is booted, the next person still has a monumental mess on his hands. So, ultimately, why even bother removing him? The environmental damage alone will take decades to fix. Some things may never return to normal.
This is a “save face” move. BP appears to be moving on from the Hayward reign and place the keys in the hands of a new leader. Basically, BP’s board is saying, “Hey look! We are doing something about the spill!” No, you removed your CEO who was a small part of the problem.
Kicking Hayward to the curb is not going to stop the oil from trickling out of the cap or return the Gulf back to its pre-spill conditions. It will generate headlines and put a childs’s Band-Aid on a gaping wound.
Either way, it appears Tony Hayward is about to get his life back. But it really doesn’t matter.