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You’re out, but it really doesn’t matter.

(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.


Honesty…IS a lonely word

“It was the biggest call of my career, and I kicked the (stuff) out of it. I just cost that kid a perfect game.” Jim Joyce

By now you’ve all seen, heard, downloaded the perfect imperfection that was Armando Galaragga’s pitching effort on June 2.  For those who haven’t, a quick recap. With two outs in the top of the ninth, Indians batter Jason Donald grounded a ball to Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera.  Bang bang play, Galarraga covers… PERFECT GAME! Not.

Fox Sports Detroit

Umpire Jim Joyce ruled that Donald beat the throw. I was sitting in my booth at Coca-Cola Field during a rain delay of the Buffalo Bisons-Syracuse Chiefs game. Those gathered around the TV were stunned at what we saw.  Donald was clearly out and Galarraga should be celebrating baseball imortality.

Joyce admitted after the game that he blew the call.  And here’s where my PR side kicked in.  The fact that Joyce went back a reviewed his actions and then faced the music was very smart.  In PR, we do the very, very best to be honest, open, and transparent.  Sometimes, in working to be honest, we inadvertently make a mistake.

Here’s what you do.  Correct it. NOW. That’s what Jim Joyce did.  He realized his mistake, checked it out, then went before the media to say he was wrong.

The problem is that honesty isn’t exactly prevalent lately. We’ve got Toyota and BP hiding behind possible false statements. We are well aware of how truthful some athletes have been about their on and off the field actions.  How hard is it to be honest about what you’ve done wrong? Apparently very hard.

In Joyce’s case, he manned up and took his lumps.  It was a terrible mistake, in the moment.  Overall, he’ll be more likely remembered for the mistake instead of the honesty he showed afterwards.  That’s the shameful part.

I’d rather see him be given a pat on the back for his honesty, not a kick in the pants for the missed call.