The general consensus – in the mainstream media and blogosphere – is that Tony Hayward is now toast.
He will probably survives long enough to give evidence to Congress next week, but more and more people are betting he will be gone by Xmas.
Obama banged another nail in Hayward’s coffin yesterday when he said he would have sacked Hayward – now known as the “Bumbler from BP” for saying “that the environmental impact of the spill would be “very, very modest” and “I would like to have my life back”.
“He wouldn’t be working for me after any of those statements,” Mr Obama said, when asked for his reaction to Hayward’s remarks.
The debate continues as to whether the company will survive, give the huge financial liabilities and penalties it faces.
Another incalculable cost is the damage to the brand.
BP may have thought it had turned the corner with the siphoning of the oil, but still its self-inflicted wounds continue to haunt it.
The Wall Street Journal reports this morning, under the headline that: “ As Missteps Mount, So Does the Backlash” that BP’s latest own-goal is not to have a big enough ship to take all the oil that it is siphoning off.
Other headlines continue to be brutal. Take the Independent: ‘BP has lied to us from day one. We could have stopped the oil’
The Associated Press has just released a story under the headline “BP spill response plans severely flawed”, which notes that one of BP’s wildlife experts listed in its 2009 response plan for a Gulf of Mexico oil spill actually died in 2005.
Under the heading “sensitive biological resources,” the plan lists marine mammals including walruses, sea otters, sea lions and seals. None lives anywhere near the Gulf.
The Associated Press concludes that “BP officials have pretty much been making it up as they go along.”
The hit the company is getting in the blogosphere is not much better, either. As Daniel Baur from Social Brand Value pointed out yesterday, he had analyzed 1000 blog posts in the last week, and it doesn’t look good for BP:
Ten years ago, the company spent £500 million rebranding itself into “beyond petroleum” with the bright green helios as a new logo.
That logo is now fatally damaged – log onto the web and countless copies exist, dripping in pollution, blackened by oil. Greenpeace is even running a competition to redesign the logo. You can see some of the entries here.
Even if the company survives, “BP’s brand is permanently tainted,” argues Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and author of “Power Hungry: The Myths of ‘Green’ Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future.”
Bryce argues that “BP will spend the coming decades circling the drain, mired in endless litigation, its reputation irreparably damaged, and its finances weakened”.
So it comes to that. BP, Britain’s once great bastion of power, slowly circling a stinking drain of litigation and fines.
It is only a matter of time before it disappears down the plug-hole.
In the mean-time, the BP brand is polluted, beyond repair.
BP damaged more than its own brand. Read about the impact BP’s oil spill is having on local community brands and their practical challenge in getting back to being competitive for capital attraction.
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