Tony Hayward

On February 17, three members of Congress sent a concerned letter to Jon Leibowitz, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission. They were spurred by a report in The Wall Street Journal detailing how Google had deceptively tracked users of Apple’s Safari web browser “without their consent or knowledge”—and in violation of a Safari setting designed to protect against such tracking.

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Let’s say you’re a huge corporation that’s just spilled oil all over the Gulf of Mexico, or a car company dealing with brakes that don’t brake, or a fast-food chain seeking distance from snot-flinging employees or your own inedible pizza. What’s the best way to say you’re sorry?  The somber, full-page newspaper ad was once the obvious venue for corporate apologies.

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It is just about two and a half months since BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, at the same time exploding the lives of 11 workers whose names no one knows—in contrast to the two haughty executives who seem always to be taking respite from troubles in their conveniently docked boats. The news buried in today’s Financial Times story about BP being “braced for shake-up at top” reveals that, aside from ExxonMobil or Royal Dutch Shell (notice how these are already combines of previous companies), PetroChina seems to be preparing for an “opportunistic bid.” This will not be good for the United St

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My hunch is that the hemorrhaging of oil in the Gulf of Mexico won't end until...well, until it ends. By which I mean until the last drop rises to the surface and there is no more below. No, I don't know when that will be, and neither apparently do the hot shot execs at what President Obama (in another swipe at London) called British Petroleum or. for that matter, the president himself. Of course, no one really does.

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One depressing aspect of the economic crisis is that public outrage has been channeled into symbolic displays of populist outrage against CEOs rather than into intelligent public action to prevent the recurrence of disasters. The response to the Deepwater Horizon spill fits the pattern. The outrage du jour is that BP CEO Tony Hayward has taken a break from overseeing efforts to contain an oil spill to take in a yacht race. I fail to understand the controversy. Does anybody assert that Hayward needs to be working seven days a week, every week? I doubt his role is actually so indispensable.

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As if BP wasn't in enough trouble, the company now has Henry Waxman on its case. Waxman has long been one of the House's a most brutal investigators—back in the '90s, he and his staff dredged up those damning Big Tobacco documents showing that cigarette manufacturers had lied about their products for decades.

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Yesterday, NPR's Richard Harris had an important Gulf scoop—the oil spill may be much, much larger than both BP and the U.S. government have been saying. Here's Brad Johnson's follow-up: Based on “sophisticated scientific analysis of seafloor video made available Wednesday,” Steve Wereley, an associate professor at Purdue University, told NPR the actual spill rate of the BP oil disaster is about 3 million gallons a day — 15 times the official guess of BP and the federal government.

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Tanking Hard

Early on Monday, BP’s boyish CEO, Tony Hayward, sat in an open-collared white dress shirt and, rocking back and forth in a studio chair, submitted to a series of four network interviews about his company’s catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The questions from NBC, CBS, ABC, and the BBC differed slightly, but to all the anchors, Hayward delivered a similar line: “This is not our accident.” In other words, it's not BP's fault.

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