Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

Time to give BP CEO the boot

Tony Hayward must go. The oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico is enough of a disaster, but the BP chief executive seems determined to make it worse.

On Sunday, Hayward was telling the Today show how sorry he was about the environmental damage, the loss of livelihood, the “massive disruption,” and everything else the Deepwater Horizon accident has caused. “There’s no one who wants this over more than I do,” he said. “I’d like my life back.”

He'd like his life back? Is he missing his annual holiday, perhaps in the south of France? Is all this just a dreadful inconvenience? A spot of bother? Is the worst oil spill in U.S. history really all about Tony Hayward?

From the start, he has tried to minimize the whole episode. BP “made a few little mistakes early on,” he said a few weeks ago. On other occasions, he said the spill was “relatively tiny” and that its impact on the environment would be “very, very modest.” On all counts, he was being either clueless or dishonest -- but certainly not trustworthy.

With every successive BP attempt to plug the leak, he has been unrealistically optimistic. The containment dome was going to work; it didn’t. The smaller cap was going to do the job; in the end, they didn’t even try to attach the thing. The “top kill” procedure had a “60 to 70 percent chance” of succeeding; veteran oil industry hands such as T. Boone Pickens predicted it would almost surely fail, and they were right.

At this point, how can anyone believe a thing Hayward says? If the White House has no choice but to continue working with BP to solve the problem, it needs a more credible partner -- one willing to be honest rather than patronizing, one who puts the lives of Gulf Coast residents ahead of his own busy calendar. BP’s board of directors should give him his life back by giving him the boot.

By Eugene Robinson  | June 1, 2010; 3:27 PM ET
Categories:  Robinson  | Tags:  Eugene Robinson  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Bill and Hillary outlast Al and Tipper
Next: Obama wants a price on carbon pollution -- just not through a carbon tax

Comments

So now Obama is to start firing people in British Corporations? Is there no limit to the wonderful power of government in the minds of liberal dreamers? Or should I say the power of wonderful government?

Posted by: rhahn1 | June 1, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

As CEO his comments have always seemed off base. His company "accident" killed 11 people and is still causing millions of dollars in damage and people's livelihood. I couldnt' understand why someone didn't make him unavailable a long time ago. However, the fact that he's still out there in the public eye making these comments says all anyone needs to know about the corporate attitude of BP.

Posted by: rlj1 | June 1, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

Well Gene, guess what. This is not a totalitarian country (yet), neither you nor Obama have the ability or the right to fire the CEO of a company, let alone a British one, (yet, except for GM and Chrysler, where you participated in picking the pockets of all the little investors out there).

Gene, I know you want to put on your arm-band and tall black boots and strut around. But there is a funny thing called laws, and you can't do it. Yet.

Now write something intelligent. You might begin by trying to explain deep water drilling and the options for plugging that well rather than bloviating.

Posted by: wjc1va | June 1, 2010 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The best condemnation of Tony Hayward et.al. was expressed in a tweet by Neil Gaimon (@neilhimself) on May 26th:

"Vaguely disappointed to learn that BP's 'top kill procedure' will leave its entire executive strata alive."

Posted by: kejia32 | June 1, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

He didn't say Obama should fire him. He said the BP board of directors should. And he's right- they should. Are you really more sympathetic to BP than Obama on this? Totalitarian country? Armband? Black boots? That was the last administration buddy.

Posted by: niccollus | June 1, 2010 5:51 PM | Report abuse

And Robert Reich wants to nationalize BP. Man, the Left is gettin its Chavez on...

Posted by: sold2u | June 1, 2010 6:12 PM | Report abuse

BP’s board of directors should give him his life back by giving him the boot.

======================================

Whew. For a minute there I wondered if Eugene realized that the board makes the determination of Mr. Hayward's employment.

With that out of the way. I agree.

Posted by: bbface21 | June 1, 2010 6:30 PM | Report abuse

America is going downhill rapidly and possibly irreversibily--time to give Our "CEO" the boot, Gene?

Posted by: dmedman50 | June 1, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Eugene Robinsons point is well taken, and should be expanded upon. The readership of the Washington Post needs to understand how bad this thing is right NOW, it is an ocean killer. The amount of oil and surfactant has created an emulsified blob of death that is so vast it will kill vast quantities of the sea floor and the living ecosystem across a vast swath of the gulf. The damage will last GENERATIONS of human existence. The damage will spread as it enters the loop current and begins moving around the tip of Florida into the gulf stream. Before it is done it will have an effect on the fisheries of the east coast and eventually make its presence known to Europe. If it goes on to August it could plausibly kill the Atlantic ocean fishery on the grand bank and beyond. It is a terrible shame that not only is Bobby Jindal not being heard for his plea to super berm the Louisiana shore line but that the current administration is locked up far worse than Bush and Katrina.l The Democrats are done in November. Done.

Posted by: DFPawlowski-MichiganUSA | June 1, 2010 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I would think our ceo obama should follow him out the door. the environmental community should also be flogged and sued for causing us to be 5000 feet down.Reminds us of the enviro nazis first big win DDT. That law responsible for the death of 100 million women and children in africa.The kkk clowns could not have a better friend than the earth nuts.

Posted by: jmounday | June 1, 2010 9:17 PM | Report abuse

I think the premise of this piece - that Mr. Hayward's performance should be called into question by the BP board of directors - is sound. But I'm concerned about the following:

I think there is little doubt that Mr. Hayward's life has been totally consumed by this disaster over the last few weeks. Is is really fair to mock him for a personal expression of exhaustion and frustration with this distaster? This comment shows he is a stressed out human, not necessarily incompetent as the article suggests.

True: The BP board of directors will need to determine the effectiveness of Mr. Hayward's performance, and if found unacceptable should release him.

Its always sadly amusing when editorialists imply that they could have made so much better engineering/military decisions in enormously complex, unprecedented situations. If top kill had worked I'm guessing we would have heard an outcry about why Mr. Hayward hadn't ordered this done immediately, rather than the I-told-you-so tone of this piece.

Posted by: mceast1 | June 1, 2010 10:53 PM | Report abuse

Let's have more "Free Market" and less regulation, corporations know what is best. BP's self congratulatory website contains well crafted videos pointing out how professional, caring and compassionate they are. Believe anything BP says and I'll sell you a bridge.
Exxon over the Valdez spill strung out their financial liability for twenty years and got off with a pittance. Will BP be any different?
The Gulf of Mexico may be destined to become a dead sea. I wonder if BP is holding back on their gravest concern, that the well may be incapable of being sealed. In their rush they may have shattered rock and it may be a matter of time before the reservoir's contents work through the sea floor. The Soviet Union had a 3 yr. gas leak at the Urtabulak gas field in S. Uzbekistan which broke through the ground. It took a nuclear detonation to finally seal the well.See it on Youtube and you'll be awestruck by the image of the gas breaking through the ground.
We have sacrificed our environment, gone to war and negatively impacted millions of people to keep this corporate culture alive. Time to rethink our priorities.

Posted by: ghandigee | June 1, 2010 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Just please stop this nonsense right now. Wake up! This is such a fool's errand. We need to get down to the nitty-gritty here: BRITISH PETROLEUM WANTS THE OIL -- and the subsequent profit -- which is why they haven't done the only logical and necessary thing: seal the hole permanently with tons and tons and tons of granite or whatever it takes. They are dilly-dallying around with caps and hoses and robots, toys basically, because they still want to process the oil so they can sell it to SUV drivers! Permanently seal it and let's get off the oil addiction once and for all.

Posted by: phillipepps1 | June 2, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

I'm no fan of BP, but condemnation of Tony Hayward for wanting his life back is nothing short of dehumanizing him....which reflects on you, not him.

We ALL need a break.

Posted by: tonymoco | June 2, 2010 1:12 AM | Report abuse

Time for WaPo to give Robinson the boot, now there is a boot I could agree with.

Posted by: shukov | June 2, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

I heard the comment and I was appalled. He wants his life back. What about all the folks who have lost their income and could lose their homes due to this, not to mention what is still to come? I'm pretty sure they want their lives back as well, if not more so. What a completely callous thing to say!!

Posted by: vicknair | June 2, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

What may give the BP board pause is the recent great loss in market value. BP stock has plummeted nearly 19% since last Thursday's close.

It's true that Hayward has made many headscratching comments in the past five weeks. That only indicates he's not facile with the press.

Mr. Robinson clearly is frustrated by the events in the Gulf. This puts him in great company.

That said, he seems to know very little about how or why CEO's get hired and fired. I would recommend he either do a bit more research into subjects on which he opines or stick to familiar topics.

Posted by: MsJS | June 2, 2010 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Between Massey Energy, BP, fatal Toyotas, and food companies knowingly selling us food tainted with e-coli and salmonella until the FDA stepped in, I think corporations have done much more damage than terrorists since 2008.

Posted by: Capn0ok | June 2, 2010 10:48 AM | Report abuse

Time to give Gene the boot.

Posted by: twann9852 | June 2, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Tony Hayward can get his "life back", the moment that the eleven workers killed by the avaricious corporate murderers get their lives back.

Posted by: barn9820 | June 2, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

BP should make Tony Hayward's face disappear off our television sets. They can easily play the shell game by "firing" him, reorganizing, reassigning PR, etc. Corporations do this all the time, when the heat gets too high. But, let's not think it means anything more than just cosmetic.

BP is either doing everything it can to stop this plug or it has some sinister motive to keep the gusher going. That's what is important, not whose face mouths which words on TV.

It is my assumption that BP is doing everything it can to stop this leak because that is the most logical conclusion. Their market cap is dropping like a rock--this does NOT make BP money or any of their executives. So far, their market cap has dropped $76 billion. The executives stock has lost nearly half their value, the company is worth half what it was worth, their ability to survive is getting more questionable, etc. etc. What possible incentive is larger than $76 billion. If the gusher was plugged, the stock would go up like a rocket. Think about it.

Don't think I'm defending BP. They are the guilty party here. But, let's stay in the real world.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 2, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Such foolishness...

BP is NOT concerned with 'saving the oil' from this well - this has NEVER entered into the decision process for one second... except in the minds of the ignorant...

A well capable of producing 15,000 barrels per day is huge, make no mistake - at current prices, such a well generates a gross income of over one million dollars per day. However, BP already produces MILLIONS of barrels each day, so even a 15,000 barrel per day well is insignificant in the larger picture... especially since they're facing a direct cost of a BILLION dollars already, and looking at many times that amount in future damages...

Yep, they're 'stalling' to try to save ONE well. Right... Sure...

"Blow the well up with nuclear weapons!"

What??? Blow up a hole? (Wouldn't that tend to create a bigger hole?)

"Plug it with tons and tons of granite!"

Huh? This oil is escaping from tiny pore spaces within SOLID ROCK, from 'holes' so small that they can only be seen under a microscope. (That's what an oil reservoir is, by the way, NOT some sort of underground lake.) Do we somehow think a pile of giant boulders will stop the flow?

These brilliant ideas just keep coming and coming and coming...

I live in Saint Tammany Parish, Louisiana. This disaster has already reduced the value of my home (rebuilt after Katrina), and it may be years before I can return to my favorite fishing spots in the Biloxi Marsh....

... but if it had to happen, I'm glad it's BP. There are many smaller players out there, who lack the technology and financial strength of BP... and who also operate in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. I can't imagine where we'd be if it had been one of these small companies operating the well...

Posted by: Guy-Hardrock | June 2, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

BP should make Tony Hayward's face disappear off our television sets. They can easily play the shell game by "firing" him, reorganizing, reassigning PR, etc. Corporations do this all the time, when the heat gets too high. But, let's not think it means anything more than just cosmetic.

BP is either doing everything it can to stop this plug or it has some sinister motive to keep the gusher going. That's what is important, not whose face mouths which words on TV.

It is my assumption that BP is doing everything it can to stop this leak because that is the most logical conclusion. Their market cap is dropping like a rock--this does NOT make BP money or any of their executives. So far, their market cap has dropped $76 billion. The executives stock has lost nearly half their value, the company is worth half what it was worth, their ability to survive is getting more questionable, etc. etc. What possible incentive is larger than $76 billion. If the gusher was plugged, the stock would go up like a rocket. Think about it.

Don't think I'm defending BP. They are the guilty party here. But, let's stay in the real world.

Posted by: 12BarBlues | June 2, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I've got a better idea than firing Tony Hayward: Let's fire BP. The EPA has legal authority to ban BP from exploration and drilling in the US, if they find that the firm's practices demonstrate criminal or negligent behavior. They have a seriously bad safety record, and they lie like hell.

If anybody's interested in mounting a grassroots effort to ban this predatory company from this country, let's talk.

Posted by: seanhellier | June 2, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I've got a better idea than firing Tony Hayward: Let's fire BP. The EPA has legal authority to ban BP from exploration and drilling in the US, if they find that the firm's practices demonstrate criminal or negligent behavior. They have a seriously bad safety record, and they lie like hell.

If anybody's interested in mounting a grassroots effort to ban this predatory company from this country, let's talk.

Posted by: seanhellier | June 2, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

Let me be first: In the words of Donald Trump, "You're Fired!" and in my words "Don't let the door hit ya in the damn face going out"!!!!
It is just sad.

ATTORNEY HOLDER!!!! THIS IS FROM SCAR1: INVESTIGATE; CHARGE; SERVE PAPERS AND KICK BUTT!!!!! HALLIBURTON; TRANS OCEAN AND BP THEN GO WITH TASK TEAM TO THE WHOLE REGION AND JUST FIND OUT WHAT ALL ARE DOING. TAKE ICE AND ANY ILLEGALS-SHIP UM OUT! ANY POETENTIAL TERRORIST-DUMP UM; CEO'S SEND THEM TO TRUMP-HELL SEND THEM TO ME-I WILL CLEAN HOUSE!!! NOT JOKING ONE BIT.
"THE SAW SUCK"--JESUS! USE THAT OLD OIL THEY ARE TRYING TO SAVE AND MAKE A PROFIT.
THIS STINKS-REALLY IT DOES!!!!


THEN GO TO LA. AND STRAIGHTEN OUT ARMY CORP OF ENGINEERS AND FIND OUT WHY THEY HAVE NOT FIXED THE LEVY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Scar1 | June 2, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

OKAY CALL THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND AND HAVE HER SEND HER SON TO SAY: "YOU'RE FIRED"!! WE DO NOT CARE-JUST SHIP HIS BUTT OFF TO SOME UNDISCLOSED LOCATION FOR GOOD!!1

Posted by: Scar1 | June 2, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

rhahn1 | June 1, 2010 4:07 PM wrote "
So now Obama is to start firing people in British Corporations? Is there no limit to the wonderful power of government in the minds of liberal dreamers? Or should I say the power of wonderful government?"

Considering what this spill will cost us, the government has the right to fire the CEO of BP, along with its entire Board of Directors! Maybe even haul them in prison if the minutes of the Board show callous disregard.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | June 2, 2010 2:37 PM | Report abuse

It's absolutely unbelievable that anyone would defend the BP CEO after the disastrous failure and catastrophe BP has caused. Only in massive corporations do CEOs stay on after destroying their companies and vast sections of our country. It's crazy!

It's extra weird that those of you who defend BP and its CEO for being "human" will, in the same breath, declare Obama a failure. For what? The hatred in your hearts for our President and for our country is perverse. It might be as bad a contamination as the oil spill.

Posted by: cturtle1 | June 2, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Due to the occupation and the extreme risk of flight, I would suggest arresting him on a no-bail warrant.

Posted by: seraphina21 | June 2, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

I know that not all Brits have the same arrogance as Hayward, but this Brit has the arrogance of the Brits that we fought during the Revoluntionary War or the arrogance of the Brits during the Irish "troubles". He sounds like he stills looks on us or the people of the Gulf as provincials. Someone should remind him that we beat the British and we never did like their arrogance. (Just wonder what British school he went to - Eton, etc?)

Posted by: mcdonalsherry | June 2, 2010 4:16 PM | Report abuse

Well Eugene, you've missed the boat again. Where is your real solotion to the oil leak. Obama has taken a less concerned approach than BP. Let's get rid of Obama and bring Bush back. To me sounds like Obama's fumblebums are keeping BP and the State from trying many things prior to this latest attempt.

We need to replace the editorial writers at the Post....you first.

Posted by: Straightshooter | June 3, 2010 10:28 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company