Tony Hayward finally got his life back, thanks for asking. According to recent profiles, the former beleaguered CEO of oil leader BP PLC is making the most of his moment away from the PR spotlight by spending some “me time” hanging out on yachts, starting new businesses and making massive distribution deals with oil-rich Middle Eastern nations like the ever-pleasant Iraq.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for his former company. The United States Department of Justice just hit BP with a “gross negligence” charge relating to the big Deepwater Horizon Gulf spill that happened way back in 2010 (remember those heady days of first-stage Bieber Fever and Tea Parties celebrating tri-corner hats?). The trial is set to begin in January, 2013. Everyone let out a collective groan.
This development is only the latest in a series of very large-scale PR challenges for BP, but it represents the most extreme position taken so far by the American government, whose lawyers are effectively throwing up their hands and saying “let’s do this.” The announcement all but erases the possibility of an out-of-court settlement—and it’s especially harsh considering recent speculation that oil still submerged from the spill washed ashore during Hurricane Isaac last week.
Try to determine the mindset of the government lawyer who wrote this line:
“The behavior, words and actions of these BP executives would not be tolerated in a middling size company manufacturing dry goods for sale in a suburban mall.” Ouch!