The Hayward Legacy

Jason Ford

News editor

MBA media relations modules will have no finer case study than that of Tony Hayward’s handling of the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, which appears to have cost him his job.

BP’s board meets today to consider Hayward’s exit strategy, with speculation in the press that his settlement package will be worth up to £12m.

For many weeks the focal point of the disaster, Hayward is likely to be remembered more for an ill judged comment about wanting his life back, a yachting weekend with his son and evasiveness during Congressional hearings than helping to oversee the capping of the leak.

Many questions remained unanswered about the events that led to the explosion on the Transocean Deepwater Horizon drilling rig on 20 April and subsequent failure of the blowout preventer.

The Engineer would in no way underplay the loss of life, the environmental disaster that followed the accident plus knock-on effects of the spill in the region.

However, disasters like this need a scapegoat. It can’t be denied that, for some Americans, Hayward’s stumbling handling of the disaster was compounded by his English accent, the incorrect renaming of BP to British Petroleum by some politicians, and the huge surge in anti-BP sentiment, and it’s the combination of these which appear to have conspired to squeeze him out. Let’s not forget also that there is pressure at the highest level of US government, especially with mid-term elections taking place this November.

If Hayward departs he is likely to be replaced by his American colleague Bob Dudley, currently director of the company’s US and Asian activities, who has taken charge of the clean-up operation.

Remaining with energy, and news that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has revealed that offshore wind farm developers face a £10bn funding gap by 2015 if new sources of finance are not made available for pre-construction stages.

According to PwC, an additional 27GW offshore wind generation capacity is required to meet the UK’s 30 per cent renewable generation target by 2020.

PwC estimates that less than half the average annual roll out rate of 1.1GW needed to meet this target was achieved last year.

Still with targets, this time in the East End of London and news that this week sees the Olympic Delivery Authority’s deadline for completion of its latest set of milestones, known as ’The big build: structures’.

This includes completion of the structures of the main sporting venues on the Olympic Park and the majority of homes in the Olympic Village, which will comprise 11 blocks of residential apartments each around the size of a football pitch. Come 2012, they will house 17,000 athletes and officials, as well as shops, restaurants, medical, media and leisure facilities, and large areas of open space.