Friday, June 11, 2010

Three Men, Three Views of BP CEO Tony Hayward

This commentary was written by Editor-in-Chief Daniel Farber.

BP CEO Tony Hayward is in the hot seat.

Every day that more oil spills into the Gulf and reaches U.S. shores, his personal stock (not to mention his company's stock price) suffers. And he is clearly in President Obama's dog house.

But Hayward is not without friends in this country. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, who is in charge of the Unified Command dealing with the spill, don't appear to believe he is untrustworthy or worth shoving overboard.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg knows what its like to run a big company. The billionaire founded the financial information behemoth Bloomberg, which employs 10,000 people across 135 countries.

On his weekly radio show Friday, Bloomberg expressed some sympathy for Hayward. He said that the world should not rush to judge the BP, and that BP's leader "didn't exactly go down there and blow up the well." He advised focusing on how to fix the problem, and leveraging BP's expertise, and then figuring out who to blame.

Bloomberg goes too easy on the CEO. Hayward didn't intend for the well to rupture so catastrophically, but he was responsible as the man at the top of the oil company for the lax safety standards and response plans.

As for Adm. Allen, who has the last word when an issue comes up with BP's handling of the situation, he said in a press briefing Friday that he trusts the BP CEO.


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