He may be on his way out as BP's CEO but Wayward Hayward's foot and mouth have been reunited in comments made to the British press:
BP formally confirmed today that it had axed its boss Tony Hayward in an attempt to appease mounting anger in the US but risked undermining the move by insisting it had been a "model of corporate social responsibility".
In further comments unlikely to go down well in Washington, Hayward said he had been "demonised" in the US, adding that he might be "too busy" to attend future US hearings into the disastrous Gulf oil spill.
Explaining his decision to leave the group he has led for three-and-a-half years, Hayward said: "I believe this tragedy will leave BP a different company. I believe for it to move on in the United States it needs new leadership and it is for that reason I have stood down as the CEO. I think BP's response to this tragedy has been a model of good social corporate responsibility. It has mounted an unprecedented response."
Gee, Tony, I thought the idea of your stepping down was to change the perception of BP in the US and A, which means that you should STFU. It's all cosmetic anyway as Stephanie Grace pointed out in her column in today's Picayune:
Hayward's behavior since the spill has cast him as public enemy No. 1, but, ironically, it's also made him an ideal fall guy for his troubled company. As such, his inevitable departure is meant to turn the page, to wipe BP's slate at least somewhat clean.
Here's the problem with that scenario: Hayward wasn't hired to have all the answers or to come off as a nice, sympathetic guy. His charge when he took the job three years ago was to change the corporate culture, to focus "like a laser" on making BP's operations safe.
On that all-important mission, Hayward failed spectacularly, and we'll all be grappling with the consequences long after he exists the scene.
BP appears to be convinced that it can PR its way out of this mess. I hope they're wrong but people's memories are short so eventually we'll get back to the really vital stories like the barracking amongst pols about Jersey Shore. I've never seen the show myself: one trashy show about Jerseyites is more than enough for me: