Monday, July 26, 2010

But his name is Dudley!

This post echos thoughts that I had when I heard the news of Hayward's probable ouster this morning on BBC. They made it sound like he was being forced out for not handling PR well enough, instead of, you know, destroying the Gulf of Mexico.
Before you go celebrating the fact that finally somebody from BP has lost their job over this leak, keep in mind that this isn't exactly a model example of accountability. Hayward isn't being canned because of BP's poor safety record, which had been established long before the disaster in the Gulf.

Instead, Hayward is being canned because BP thinks he wasn't a good spokesman. In other words, BP thinks their problems have more to do with the nationality of their CEO than the consequences of their corporate policies. And with their new pick, selecting a long-time BP insider to replace Hayward, BP is signaling that they have no real intention of changing anything about how they do business. The only thing they want to change is the accent. But even if this move does end up helping BP's shareholders in the short-term, it won't make anybody safer or more secure, and it won't help stop their next disaster. It's an image move, having nothing to do with substance.
UPDATE: I had intended to write a longer post and got interrupted - hence, the rather odd heading. It's just kind of a funny coincidence: My father was in the Air Force and he was stationed in England in the mid-fifties when I was about 3 - 5 years old. My earliest memories are of this time. And we had a cat named Dudley. My parents subsequently bought our first of what would eventually be four bull terriers whereupon Dudley disappeared. I mourned the loss of Dudley by naming one of my many stuffed toys (a black and white cat, like Dudley) after him. So it's amusing to me that the American - possibly chosen for his American-ness - should be named Dudley.

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