Get ready for the moan of “OH NO!” from stand-up comedians everywhere when they read this news that British Petroleum’s public relations challenged CEO Tony Haryward is about to leave the BP corporate building. According to reports, he will be stepping down — free to get his life back and go to any yacht racing events he wants without recrimination.
Some new reports suggest he will be out this week — even within two days. Reuters:
BP Plc has decided Chief Executive Tony Hayward should step down over his handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and his departure could be announced in the coming days, sources close to the company said on Sunday.
BP’s board will discuss the timing of Hayward’s exit when it meets on Monday, to review BP’s second quarter results ahead of their release on Tuesday, the sources said.
“The details are being worked out,” one source said.
The London-based company could announce on Tuesday that Hayward will stand down in the months ahead, after a handover period, the sources said.
However, the company is also mulling whether to hold off on announcing Hayward’s departure until the Macondo well, which has been sealed with a temporary cap after leaking up to 60,000 barrels per day into the sea, has been shut off for good.
The New York Times’ earlier report — before other news sources were saying Hayward would definitely get the boot — put it this way:
‘BP’s board of directors is meeting Monday, and the biggest topic on the agenda is the fate of Tony Hayward, the oil giant’s embattled chief executive, according to people familiar with the situation.
After the Deepwater Horizon disaster on April 20, Mr. Hayward made a series of gaffes that infuriated Gulf Coast residents and government officials alike. He was forced to retreat from the spotlight.
On Tuesday, when BP reported its second-quarter earnings, Mr. Hayward was supposed to reemerge from the shadows and make his best case to BP’s shareholders that the company has a viable strategy for the post-spill world.
Now it appears that strategy might not include Mr. Hayward, although no decisions have yet been made, according to the people familiar with the situation, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the matter.
A great deal is at stake for BP, which remains under considerable pressure even though the oil has stopped gushing from its well underneath the Gulf of Mexico.A tropical storm over the weekend briefly forced BP to suspend operations to permanently plug the doomed well. Some members of Congress want to ban BP from running new offshore ventures. The Senate, meanwhile, is expected to vote on legislation this week that would hold “BP accountable,” according to Senator Harry Reid, the Democratic majority leader.
And the company continues to lurch from one public relations embarrassment to another. Last week, BP admitted it posted doctored pictures of its spill operations on its corporate Web site.
The New York Daily News is — as always — less diplomatic than the Times:
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
Oil spill-tainted BP chief exec Tony Hayward is negotiating his exit from the company and could be gone in a matter of days.
The board of the British oil giant has decided that Hayward needs to go for his woeful mishandling of the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and is negotiating his severance package.
“The details are being worked out,” a source said Sunday.
An announcement is expected sometime before the company announces its second-quarter earnings on Tuesday.
Dubbed the “most hated – and clueless – man in America,” Hayward became a lightning rod for public outrage for saying he “wanted his life back” and going yachting while the colossal environmental disaster spiraled out of control.
TV and other stand-up comedians had a ball making fun of a CEO could not keep a lid on his enjoyment of his “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” lifestyle for even the comparatively fleeting few moments of his life required to do press briefings and who could not put off avoid being photographed in settings that underscored the stark contrast between wealthy him and those who face losing their livelihoods in the Gulf. To wit:
“BP CEO Tony Hayward said recently, ‘No one wants this thing over more than I do. I’d like my life back.’ Tony, I’m so sorry you had your summer disrupted. I’d buy you a drink, but you’d probably spill that too … and make me clean it up.” –Craig Ferguson
“This Tony Haywire guy, whatever his name is, he told the BBC on Sunday that he believes the new oil cap that they’ve installed will eventually capture the vast majority of oil spewing from the well. You know, if they could capture half the BS spewing from Tony Hayward, people would be thrilled.” —Jay Leno
“BP CEO Tony Hayward said he would just like to get his life back. He wants to get his life back. You know, I say give him life plus 20.” —Jay Leno
…..”Obama’s not the only one on the hot seat right now. The CEO of BP is taking a lot of flak. His name is Tony Hayward. Today, President Obama had a meeting with Hayward at the White House. It got off to the wrong start. Hayward arrived in a Hummer limo powered by baby seals.” –Craig Ferguson
A Tony Hayward doll was even marketed in the U.S.:
Modelled on BP oil spill hate figure Tony Hayward, it’s the toy no kid wants – Inaction Man.
The 12-inch doll depicts the gaffe-prone boss as jobless with a placard reading: BP Executive Needs Work.
Made by American firm Hero Builders, it sells for £22.75 and describes Hayward’s qualities as “whiny little b*tch”, and an “all around w*****”.
Toy company boss Emil Vicale said: “We don’t expect to sell any. That’s how reviled he is.”
The doll – which does absolutely nothing – is the latest insult to Hayward, 53.
Meanwhile, BP doesn’t seem to want to let go of its image as a company that isn’t above board but will say what it thinks it needs to say in a given moment — even if everyone thinks or knows it’s just saying what it thinks it needs to say:
BP Sunday refused to confirm reports that its embattled chief executive Tony Hayward is on the verge of leaving the oil giant.
“Tony Hayward remains our chief executive and has the full support of the board and senior management,” company spokesman Mark Salt told CNN.
So expect the Tony Hayward spirit to linger on at BP long after Tony Hayward has left the leaking oil well.
At least until all of the BP bigwigs get their lives back….
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.