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The Tony Hayward Fail

Updated on June 30, 2010

Before Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, appeared before Congress on Thursday over the whole issue of the oil spill, I was willing to give BP the benefit of the doubt. First of all, I can't even begin to imagine exactly how complex an oil spill of this magnitude could possibly be, to figure it all out as to what you do with it. I mean, there's a ton of pressure down there to try and plug up, and getting the oil cleaned up that has already spewed out at nearly 50,000-60,000 barrels a day, for the last two months, has got to be one hell of a daunting task. It's one I certainly would not want on my plate. And it's not something I ever thought for a second could be dealt with rapidly as it all was unfolding. This is a huge problem.

So yes. I was willing to take BP at their word that everything they could possibly do was being done. That what led to the explosion, and the spill was all a tragic and unfortunate event. An act of the gods, if you will. I was even willing to cut President Obama a little bit of slack as well on this thing. After all, he can't suck the oil through a straw, now can he? When issues like this come up people have to be reasonable about what can really be done, and how soon things can get done.

Hey, don't get me wrong. I'm as much of an armchair quarterback as anyone.

But again, all this positive sentiment was before CEO Tony Hayward appeared before Congress. The guy was being as evasive as anyone can possibly be. He wouldn't answer a single question with any real substance. As far as I am concerned, his appearance before Congress was a waste of time—though, for me, very telling of something just below the surface that's not right.

So it has become my opinion that BP was complicit in all things that ultimately led to the explosion on the rig. I also think that Tony Hayward is absolutely hiding something. The constant replies to Congress' questions that he didn't know, or that he was out of the loop, or that he wasn't there just, to me, seems very suspicious. I'm not saying he's likely an evil man—he's just trying to cover his ass. He's in defense mode.

Here we go again where we've got a guy sitting in the top executive chair, earning millions of dollars every year, who knows nothing about what's going on in his company? Come on. Really? I'm inclined to believe that if you were to have asked Tony Hayward's janitor while this well was being built, he could have offered up more information about what was going on. No one passed in the halls and asked, "Hey, where are we at with this well in the Gulf?" This is a multi-million dollar building project that was the result of millions of dollars of exploration before the discovery, and would result in billions of dollars of revenue for the company once the rig was in full swing, and Tony Hayward was not in the know throughout the well's progress?

Maybe I can believe that. Okay fine. It's quite possible that Tony Hayward just gets to play with the telephones in the big office, and zooms around the floor in his big leather chair making engine noises with his mouth.

The big kicker is what happens when the evidence is smacking you in the face that decisions were made in the interest of saving time and money, and you still are unable to own up to it. Document after document showed clearly that decisions were made that took into consideration how much time it would take to incorporate recommendations to make the well safe, and how much it would cost. Putting in 6 centralizers, for example, instead of the 21 that were recommended.

Hayward knows damn well BP was concerned about profits, and they wanted to get this well done. It was already 45 days late, and one recommendation would have taken 10 days to have the parts shipped. I would have liked to have seen a little bit of English fire from the man. I would have liked to have heard him say, "If the findings of our investigation determine that any BP employee put cost considerations before safety, heads will roll." I would have liked to have heard him say, "I am going to personally meet with all of the parties who were involved with the decision making process on that rig to determine where their minds were at at the time they made the decisions, and to determine what influences may have been at work to push them to make decisions that may have been for cost savings reasons."

This would have been far more productive than "I wasn't there," and "I was not a part of the decisions that were made."

This is your company. You are the boss. It is your job and your responsibility to take immediate action, and find out what went wrong when 11 people are belly up in the water, and emails are floating around saying things like, "Who cares. It's done." If I were the CEO I'd have everyone involved on a plane and in my boardroom.

By his account before Congress, Tony Hayward was removed then from the rig, the well, and the decisions that were made during its construction, and he is as removed now. He knows no more about the who's, the what's, or the why's than he knew the day the telephone rang and someone said to him, "Tony, we've got a bit of a problem here."

Amazingly the stock ticked up today. Apparently Wall Street admired Tony's little show. I'm not in that camp. My mind has been changed by the responses Tony Hayward gave to Congress, and frankly to the American people. I'm appalled by the lack of real concern, and the lack of any real effort to get to the bottom of what happened. It doesn't seem to be his first priority, even if he said it is, because if it were then 60 days after the well burst, he ought to know a whole hell of a lot about things. Amazingly, he couldn't even concede that BP was not operating in a culture of safety, even though his company had been cited for 760 safety violations while all of his other competitors during the same time period had between 2 and 8 violations? Some things are just a little bit common sense, or they should be. That isn't rocket science. Did anyone check that business degree on his wall in his office to see if it was printed on his computer?

The long and short is that anything I thought in favor of BP before is now out the window. The company is guilty. Tony Hayward is guilty. The company operated in a manner that cost lives absolutely because it put profits before safety. I think that Tony Hayward should be fired immediately. As for the hearing before Congress? It was an epic fail if ever there was one.

For now, I will not be pumping up at a BP station.


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    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Why wouldn't oil be just one more thing in this country to be outsourced? Everything in this country nowadays is outsourced. As far as tariffs, taxes, or any other thing, those have all been replaced by things like most-favored-nation status and NAFTA and whatever else there is out there to cheat and pilfer.

    • profile image

      Betsy Ross 

      9 years ago

      It is amazing to me that bloggers and the news media have not asked THE FUNDAMENTAL QUESTION while the shifts have been on the cleanup most of all. And that is UNDER WHAT AUTHORITY DID OUR CONGRESS HAVE TO OURSOURCE THE MINERAL RIGHTS TO AMERICA'S OFFSHORE OIL RESERVES IN THE FIRST PLACE?

      And the naievity is also astounding. Why is the "cleanup" taking so long? If you have spent any time in New Orleans or Louisiana at all you would know that the BRITISH OWN NEW ORLEANS AND ITS PORT and most of the finer homes in the French Quarter and Garden District post Katrina. I wonder how many extra barrels under those leases the Brits have shipped out of the Port of New Orleans while this circus has gone on, to be refined in Britain, and then sold back to the American people TAXED AT THAT in this little cozy partnership those treasonous lackeys on the Hill have with this global corporation, and most of whom own stock in BP?

      Unbelieveable, the spins. And the propaganda again.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      I'm still looking forward to Tony Hayward's firing. It can't happen soon enough for me. If I were a shareholder, I'd be firing the board as well.

    • coolmompublishing profile image


      9 years ago from Georgia

      Good points! I agree that the whole situations seems rather suspicious....

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      I still don't see the grandstanding politicians on this issue that everyone else does, but I do think that many conservatives have definitely turned the evil eye on the dems for asking questions of Hayward—even though the republican questions were as harsh and nearly identical. We've come to a point where we are not judging based on merits. We're just bashing—which is why I wrote about it in another hub. We're being less than sensible or fair in our analysis and kicking to the curb any idea that we hear emminate from the lips of a democrat. Even if it is a good one, we'll hear nothing of it. That's bad policy. That's bad politics. It is a situation that solves nothing, and taken to the extreme, will backfire on the conservative lot if and when they take power back.

      I want to see our elected leaders digging for solutions to problems. Not finding the faults in the solutions of others solely.

      As for your ranting, think nothing of it. From one ranter to another... :)

    • billyaustindillon profile image


      9 years ago

      Springboard Great discussion going here - I always enjoy your passion and thanks for them on my hubs on this issue. As far as Hayward goes he should have known about that hub especially given they were capping it for production. I guarantee to you Rex Tillerson would have known about such an important well at Exxon. BP had Brown before this bloke - he was poor - so really it is the culture. Don't forget how important production is in a declining reserves environment. As for a partisan issue - that is so mindless how has this become one - why because stupid people defend stupid people. The President has done a shocking job here - plain and simple. So we have a dud President and a dud CEO great. Anyone defending whether one of these guys for partisan reasons need to look in the mirror and be ashamed but that is just my opinion. Fix the mess up already - while the relief wells are being drilled clean up as much and capture as much and stop grandstanding politicians - see it for what it is people rather than trying to dress it up for political agendas - that is disgraceful in itself. maybe aI just might have to believe some of these conspiracy theories if this rot keeps up! Sorry about the rant there Springboard :)

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      POP, again I don't see them as witch trials at all. We can't always choose on the side of demonizing our elected leaders. This is a terrible disaster and questions need to be asked. It's that simple. Turning this into a political issue says to me one very poignant thing, and that is this; even if the democrats do something right, we will harangue them and hang them. This is politics at its worst.

      What should Congress have done? Again, both repubs and dems alike acted almost identically, and I think absolutely appropriately in this matter.

      They actually DID something, and we still can't see that? Something's not right about that.

      Ryankett, I'm not so sure I agree. A guy could step in and say "we're going to get this done, period." Business is shrewd. It's cut throat. If Tony Hayward has failed in his responsibilities then he should be held accountable—including being fired.

      Why on earth would you want a guy who causes the biggest oil disaster in American history at the helm? That's not weak leadership. That's absolute incompetence.

      He was alseep at the wheel and the car careened off the road and took out 11 people and caused a lot of damage.

      Yeah. He should keep his job—and yeah, he's the man to get it done.


    • profile image


      9 years ago

      I agree wholeheartedly that Hayward has been weak and at times... well, I think that 'weak' is probably the correct word. BUT.... nobody in their right mind would take the job of CEO of BP Plc right now, and that company needs some sort of leadership, even if it is weak leadership. So I think that perhaps the witch hunt and the blame game should be played only after the Oil Spill has been remedied or at least part remedied. The implications of BP falling apart right now only make the tragedy much greater.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      9 years ago

      Bp is totally to blame for the spill, but these Congressional witch trials are absurd.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Prasetio, thank you, and thank you for stopping by.

      I am in your camp Cari. As for accountability and responsibility, that's our job in a situation like this. We vote with our wallets. :)

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Sheri, on this one I don't see the grandstanding at all. What I saw were legitimate questions being asked regarding legitimate concerns over legitimate questions that were raised as to the motivations of BP in constructing the well that ultimately blew up.

      I don't like the democrats or their policies of late anymore than the next guy. I don't like the way BO has conducted operations (or hasn't) since the spill. But I'm not going to allow any of my judgement on this one to be clouded by my politics.

      BP acted inappropriately IMO. Tony Hayward knows it. The Congress knows it. And now the American people ought to know it as well.

      Congress did their job on this one so far as I am concerned. They deserve applause here. Not dissent due to politics. It's okay to applaud them when they get it right IMO. And here, I think they got it right. Even WAXMAN, who I can't stand, who always reminded me of one of those pig people in that epic Twilight Zone episode. ;)

      Keep in mind that both the republicans AND the democrats were equally hard on Tony Hayward, with a very slight exception being Barton.

    • Cari Jean profile image

      Cari Jean 

      9 years ago from Bismarck, ND

      I'm just tired of people not taking responsibilty and always trying to blame someone else. Someone was responsible for what happened. Someone had to have known what was going on.

      I feel awful for the families who lost loved ones during this tragedy. Especially since this is on the news everyday as a reminder to them of what happened. I pray they will somehow find peace and comfort.

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      I really enjoy this hub. Thanks for share with us. Great and very well written. Thumbs Up for you.

    • SheriSapp profile image


      9 years ago from West Virginia

      good hub, good points. I think that Hayward just needs to go home and shut up!! I think I may dislike him even more than BO and THAT is saying something!! I do think it was a lot of grandstanding from the politicians though. However, BP was ultimately responsible and can/will pay for it. It is really a shame that our current "president" is even MORE incompetent and inept.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Suny, very true. As for the cotton thing, at this point trying anything would be a good idea.

      BJBenson, so true. It's a terrible tragedy.

      ZZ, thanks for stopping in. :)

      Ethel, unfortunate but true. It's another reminder that we have to ultimately at least THINK about alternatives. It won't happen overnight, and I don't think we'll ever fully relieve ourselves from the necessity of oil, but we CAN use our power of imagination and innovation to at least put us on a path to reducing our need for it. Let's start with experimenting a little more, for example, with making plastics out of soy based oils etc. It's being done, and I think if we look at it a bit more closely, we can probably come up with some interesting stuff—take a look at what John Deere is doing with it.

      Patti, it's always the case after the fact. Most people look in terms of now. Today. The instant. They rarely look ahead to tomorrow. And that is becoming MORE true than ever before—people get frustrated if it takes a whole 5 seconds for a website to load.

      Sandy, yes. And it ALWAYS seems to come with a greater price in the end.

    • Sandyspider profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      9 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

      Just think that greed gets in the way of cutting corners. Great information.

    • Patti Ann profile image

      Patti Ann 

      9 years ago from Florida

      Very well put - I agree that it appears that BP is hiding a lot of information - No one involved - BP or the government is doing the best that they can to get this major problem resolved. It's a shame that they are not doing more.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I shall sit on the fence I think. All I can say is that it is a sorry state of affirs for all concerned, The ordinary man or woman on the ground will suffer for many years to come

    • zzron profile image


      9 years ago from Houston, TX.

      Awesome info, thanks for this.

    • BJBenson profile image


      9 years ago from USA

      This is ugly and getting worse!

    • suny51 profile image


      9 years ago

      No he can't suck it throw a straw as there is no straw big enough,but he can sure do many more things than just leaving it to B.P..'I hear some one has produced a cotton fiber coated with wax thats five time more effective in sucking the oil from water than the synthetic fiber in use presently,lets hope for the best.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      That would be an even scarier thought, Born to be free, if there was ANY malfeasance on BPs behalf to make money on a carbon tax that would result from a shift in people's acceptance of the proposal based on an event...

      I don't think that's the case at all, even if they are strong proponents of cap and trade. It was a simple matter, IMO, of wanting to save a few million dollars, and just keeping their fingers crossed that it would all work out and nothing bad would come of it. No harm, no foul was their mentality on this one.

      As for cap and trade, it's a lousy idea.

      Thanks Maita. I always appreciate the encouragement. :)

      lol Habee. Now THAT would be something. If I did I'm sure I would be like Morton Downey, a guy who used to do a pretty interesting show, where in one episode when he had a guest who spouted off and wouldn't shut up Morton Downey actually sat on him, and told his other guest "You can talk now."

      Unfortunately he died of lung cancer and the fun died with him. :)

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      You should be a TV news anchor!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image


      9 years ago from US

      Hi Spring, hiding somethign yes, he is. And of course you did a good -- analysis on the BP situation and oil spill, so devastating, Thumbs up, Maita

    • born to be free profile image

      born to be free 

      9 years ago

      Good article springboard, I think BP will make up for their financial losses when public opinion allows for a carbon tax and BP makes a killing selling their carbon credits in the future. On one side of the coin this event has been all negative for BP, but on the other side of the coin this event has swung the door wide open for the possibility of a mandatory carbon tax in the USA. BP has pushed for this for years, everyone should learn about BP involvement in the carbon credit market and then they will understand how this could eventually make BP filthy rich in the end.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Carolina Muscle, me too. lol

      The thing about that, Hello, is that "shutting the well off" is a bit of real complex thing. It's not like there's a switch somewhere. According to all the reports I've seen there are pressures down there upwards of 15,000 lbs, and that's not something one can easily cap. They'll have to, and they are apparently building relief wells, but those too will take time. Meantime, they have to recapture all they can that is spewing out (I think they said they are now recovering up to 30,000 barrels a day) and clean up topside what they can, including trying to stop the oil from spreading further. The hurricanes are a scary thought to be sure.

      Amillar, absolutely. It's worrying even for people, like myself, who don't have to live with it. Here in Wisconsin the oil doesn't have a direct impact on me, but the entire situation still irks me to death.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Pamela, still, I think that Hayward could have been able to at least acknowledge that the emails and memo's, and other documents all pointed to the possibility that money and time could have been considerations in the decision making process of the well's construction. My anger stems from that. Look, you can sit there all day and say "I had nothing to do with it. I wasn't there." And as I pointed out to Nicomp, I could buy that. I still think it's a bit off, but I could concede the possibility of that. But after the fact. 60 days after the fact. With mounting documents and a 14 page letter outlining concerns, it just seems obvious to me, considering how adamant Hayward was during the hearing about his "culture of safety," that the actions taken in the decision making process by his employees would have disgusted him. I just found him to be uncaring, unmoved, complacent, and unwilling to accept responsibility—or the possibility that BP could be complicit.

      That's all I wanted from him.

      As far as Congress' questions, I still feel the only reason they handled the hearing the way they did is because of Tony Hayward's evasiveness. Why, for example, did he not ever once consult his technical expert? The hearing was a farce, and Tony Hayward IMO did not handle it the way he should have. If it was a dog and pony show, or a circus as Nicomp monikered it, it was only that because of BP's and Tony Hayward's responses.

      Still, I value your opinion. :)

    • amillar profile image


      9 years ago from Scotland, UK

      It must be very worrying for those who have to live with it.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      9 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for a clearly written and constructive hub. I liked the way you kept all the time in the middle but at the same time gave good information and at the same time put down a opinion which many share. It is absolutely unbelievable for Tony Hayward not knowing. Also while this is going on and he is having meeting after meeting what about shutting the spill? Surely it should have been done ages ago and it has to be done. What is the use of him being at meetings? He should have been there -- ages ago -- to make sure the job is done. No matter how much he riggles on the hook the oil well has to be shut off. So, what are they waiting for? Don't forget the hurrican season is not that far off. So, what IS going on?

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 

      9 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

      The whole thing makes me wanna throw up.

      Well stated post!!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      9 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I think there is no doubt that BP was slack on safety and Hawkins probably didn't know it at the time but now he is being the good CEO and I'm sure coached by an attorney as to his responses. Of course, he knows who was responsible now but he's not talking. I agree with that part of your article. However, I think it was a dog and pony show because of the way congress handled the questions. It was too soon for this inquisition. We need to know more about the cause of the explosion and then maybe a hearing would have been more appropriate.

      Obama's response has also been deplorable. Countries around the world offered immediate help which would have made a huge difference but Obama said no. He used the Jones Act to protect his unions! Bush had no problem suspending the Jones act with Katrina and we had hospital boats, etc. immediately. I am not saying Katrina was handled well, only illustrating that world help was turned down.

      If congress didn't keep the best drilling sites closer to shore closed off BP probably wouldn't be drilling in 5 mile deep water.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks, and thanks for stopping by. :)

    • susanlang profile image


      9 years ago

      Stright forward and to the point, well said Springboard. Rated it up!

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      If it was a circus, it was due to Tony Hayward's own lack of response. He was clearly a clown IMO. Congress would have had no reason to conduct the hearing in the manner they did had Tony simply been forthcoming.

      BTW, I'm not judging BP by Congress' actions, but rather the information that surfaced which leads, in my mind, to one glaring conclusion—it was about money. Not safety. Ever.

      Unfortunately the reality is that the end result will cost them enormously more than they would have ever saved had they gotten lucky and the rig hadn't have blown up.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      9 years ago from Ohio, USA

      I'm not giving BP a pass either, but the circus that Congress put on yesterday should have no bearing on how BP is judged.

    • Springboard profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Wisconsin

      Nicomp, with all due respect, I could MAYBE buy the fact that perhaps this rig may not have been high on the radar during its construction with so much else going on and such a big company to oversee. Even though I still find that a little bit difficult to fully swallow, as I wrote, "This is a multi-million dollar building project that was the result of millions of dollars of exploration before the discovery, and would result in billions of dollars of revenue for the company once the rig was in full swing, and Tony Hayward was not in the know throughout the well's progress?"

      But 60 days after the fact? With tons of memo's and emails included in a 14 page letter that the Congress sent to Hayward that had clear evidence of decisions being made quite possibly with cost and time savings considerations? The 14 page letter also provided specific questions that the Congressman would be asking, mind you.

      The man should have known more, plain and simple.

      Furthermore, I don't like the idea that this has become a partisan issue. It's not. I watched the entire hearing. The republicans were AS hard on Tony Hayward as the democrats were. The democrat who asked Hayward what day it was was doing it to illustrate that it seemed to be the only thing Hayward was "aware" of.

      I'm not cutting Obama any slack. I'm not giving any thumbs up to the democratic party. I'm not looking at this as a political issue. I see it as a company and company's CEO, whose actions or INactions caused the death of 11 people, and who perpetuated a disaster that will likely continue to take a profound toll on our waters and shores for many years to come. And they did this to save a few million dollars.

      I think that's as clear as the nose on my face, and I think Tony Hayward knows it too.

      I'm not going to give BP a pass just because I'm not happy with the democratic party and President Obama.

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      9 years ago from Ohio, USA

      What hearing were you watching? That dog and pony show was an embarrassment to the entire United States. The world has one more reason to think we are abject morons. There are our leaders? One Democrat asked Hayward if it was Thursday. Seriously.

      What did you expect him to say? He was addressing grand-standing politicians with no real-world experience who read questions from prepared texts. They constantly rephrased his answers, asked him leading questions, ignored his explanations, talked down to him, and generally came off as babbling fools.

      BP has 80,300 employees ( They have exploration and production activities in Angola, Azerbaijan, Canada, Egypt, the Russian Federation, Trinidad and Tobago, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as in the Asia Pacific, Latin America, North Africa, and the Middle East.

      So this guy was supposed to have intimate knowledge of how one well was configured on one rig in the Gulf of Mexico? He's involved in an ongoing investigation. To make any comments would be foolhardy and possibly illegal.


      I'm going out of my way to fill up at BP tonight.

      The real travesty has been visited on the 11 families who lost loved ones when the rig exploded and the 17 others who were injured. Hayward has his salary, Congress has their grandstand, but those people have been devastated in a way that we cannot imagine.

      On a tangential topic: I'm not not a boater but every marina I've ever visited has oil slicks in it. Boats leak oil and gasoline, don't they? Are marinas 'dead zones'?


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