August 20, 2014

OPINION: BP CEO’s buyout nothing short of obscene

It’s a story we’ve heard too many times before.
BP CEO Tony Hayward agreed earlier this week to step down as the company’s top executive as BP found a temporary fix to the deluge of oil that has slicked the Gulf Coast.
While it may be seen as a good PR move for the embattled oil giant – an American businessman will replace Hayward this fall – any optimism is overshadowed by the price tag on Hayward’s departure: $1.6 million, or a year’s salary.
Obviously, this is nothing short of obscene on several levels. The most obvious, of course, is related to the economy. In an age when the common breadwinners in American households are lucky only to keep their jobs, let alone get even the smallest merit pay increase, Hayward is basically being rewarded for failing to address one of the largest domestic missteps since the U.S. government’s sluggish response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The payout to Hayward – BP’s biggest embarrassment of the day — is a slap in the face to decent, hard-working Americans who do their jobs and do them well, even amid an uncertain economic climate.
What’s more, according to a report from CNN, is that BP itself sustained a second-quarter net loss of $17.2 billion. Even more angering is the fact that while Hayward is not expected to face jail time, some mid-level BP employees will. It’s yet another case of the privileged class taking care of its own and thumbing its collective nose at the rest of the country.
While we hope BP’s new CEO, Bob Dudley, runs a better ship than Hayward, we are skeptical. We’ve seen companies change hands too many times with the promise of better leadership, better communication and more responsibility taken for its mistakes. With all of the power it holds, BP has shown a gross abuse of that power as of late, and we fear that will only continue.
Until we’re proven correct, however, all we can do is keep sitting back and watching the mess unfold. And hopefully, when it comes to BP’s changing of the guard, it won’t be more of the same.

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