It's official: BP CEO Tony Hayward will step down in October to make way for his American successor, BP exec Bob Dudley. When Hayward announced his departure, he took a shot at the U.S. media, saying he had been "demonized and vilified" as the "public face" of the massive Gulf oil spill: "Sometimes you step off the pavement and get hit by a bus." White House press secretary Robert Gibbs shot back that nobody's "feeling overly sorry" for the gaffe-prone CEO. Should we be? (Watch a Fox report about Hayward's demotion)
Hayward earned this "tidal wave of hostility": When Hayward took the reins of BP from his disaster-plagued predecessor, Lord John Browne, three years ago, says Rowena Mason in The Daily Telegraph, he "wanted his tenure to be associated with one word: safety." Instead he'll be remember for 11 deaths and the worst oil disaster in history. And rightly so. His "fine intentions" for safety gave way to a "thirst for saving money," and the result is the Gulf gusher.
"The rise and fall of Tony Hayward"
The criticism is a little overblown: There's some truth to the lament of just "how 'unlucky' Tony Hayward was," says Andrew Hill in the Financial Times. He was in the process of fixing some of Browne's legacy "flaws," and was, in some respects, just "the wrong man in the wrong place at the wrong time." And if his "British self-deprecation" in the wake of the Gulf disaster went down "poorly" in America, how is that his fault?
"Hayward can contribute to rebuilding his reputation"
Don't cry for Tony: Hayward is a "casualty" of the Gulf spill, says Dale McFeatters at Scripps Howard News Service, but don't feel bad that he's being "put out of his misery." He goes to his "almost comically" scripted new job in Siberia (as head of TNK-BP, a joint BP venture) with a fat, $18 million golden parachute. His tone-deaf parting shots — he's "too busy" to attend any more U.S. hearings, BP "has been a model of good social corporate responsibility" on his watch — only explain why we "vilified" him.
"BP CEO a casualty of spill, but a well-compensated one"
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