Hayward to step down

Finally, BP has realized Tony Hayward is not viable as the oil giant’s CEO. Various news outlets are now reporting that Hayward will be asked to resign effective this fall.

Hayward is not simply, as CNN called him, a “gaffe machine.” He has actually been a disastrous CEO. He ignored safety concerns raised by BP employees and other regulators. He skimped on basic safety precautions all because of the potential for more profit. Yet looking just at the numbers that drove Hayward shows not everything has gone all that well. BP’s stock price has dropped dramatically since Hayward took office. Just a few weeks ago, BP stock was trading at under $30 a share. That’s down from just under $70 when Hayward became CEO in May of 2007. In a world where a woman can be fired simply because of an edited video clip and an irrational fear of right-wing lunacy, it is a wonder Tony Hayward is still around.

This story contrasts with the controversy du jour involving Shirley Sherrod. It is incredible that Tony Hayward has hung around so long after committing so many devastating mistakes. How can someone who has so clearly been a terrible executive be kept around for so long? Sherrod was fired within hours of the start of that manufactured controversy. There has been far more evidence of Hayward’s mistakes (and purposeful ignorance) for months.

Spiderman is told, “With great power comes great responsibility.” If anyone was getting concerned that this seemingly common-sense statement might not be realized by BP’s board, you can now take some solace. There is still much to do but it is nice to know that sometimes, eventually, the people actually at fault are punished for the problems of the world.

Whether new leadership takes a new direction with BP will depend on pressure from the government. What the government does is up to us. We must continue to pressure BP to do what is right by holding our lawmakers accountable. BP will be lobbying hard in Congress. We must do the same.

Make your voice heard!

Boycott BP here: beyondBP.org

Fight back against corporate power: dontgetrolled.org