I've criticized the President in this blog for his frequent activities unrelated to the Gulf Coast oil spill and his seeming detachment from the seriousness of the issue. Even the hint of such a notion would be enough for most leaders to do as much as they could to look engaged.
Well, now I have to take BP CEO Tony Hayward to task for his actions this weekend. Hayward spent time on Capitol Hill defending his company, only to head back to England to...attend a yacht race. Even Joe Biden's saying that's a big gaffe, Mr. Hayward, and he wrote the book on making big gaffes. (Either that or he plagiarized it.)
Hayward's actions show the same kind of short-sightedness in leadership that President Obama has exhibited countless times since the oil spill began. The only difference? The press still likes Obama. They already don't like you or your company, Mr. Hayward. Why give them more of a reason to run you into the ground?
This hurts BP in another way, that being in making their case before the world. Up until now, BP has been the target of a lot of criticism, valid and otherwise, for its handling of the Gulf Coast situation. They haven't lost the PR war yet, but they have been keeping pretty even. Hayward's actions blow that out of the water completely. On top of the PR nightmare of the spill, now BP has to deal with the "let them eat cake" image that the Hayward story creates, with only a slight push from the media. Dude, if you were looking to screw over your own company, mission accomplished.
As someone who just defended BP in my previous post, I am stunned at the thoughtlessness exhibited by BP's President. Given the circumstances, I think they would have been okay with you skipping this year's yacht race. Now, you've done potentially fatal harm to BP's company reputation. Just one piece of advice for you, Mr. Hayward.
Dust off your resume and start asking for job references.