Climate

As both its stock and image collapses, BP hires former Bush-Cheney and Goldman-Sachs officials to ˜defend its interests and restore its reputation

The Times understands that Mr Prodi, who twice served as Italy’s prime minister, is a key member of an “international advisory board” assisting BP that also includes Josh Bolten, the former chief of staff to President George W. Bush. Both Mr Prodi and Mr Bolten are former employees of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank that advises BP. BP’s former chairman Peter Sutherland also held a senior role at Goldman.

BP has embarked on an aggressive campaign to repair its public image in the wake of the Gulf disaster.  They are doing as good a job on the PR front as they are on responding to the undersea volcano of oil (see As analysts say oil disaster, “could break BP,” company hires Dick Cheney’s press secretary).  TP has more on their latest efforts in this repost.

BP  has repeatedly run full-page ads in major newspapers, retained high-powered lobbying and public relations firms, and launched a series of television ads with CEO Tony Hayward looking apologetic. The company has even hired Anne Womack-Kolton, a former top aide to Vice President Cheney, to be its new spokesperson.

Now, joining Womack-Kolton in helping BP repair its image is former chief of staff to President Bush, Josh Bolten:

The former European Commission president Romano Prodi is understood to be assisting BP in its attempt to restore its battered reputation in the United States.

The Times understands that Mr Prodi, who twice served as Italy’s prime minister, is a key member of an “international advisory board” assisting BP that also includes Josh Bolten, the former chief of staff to President George W. Bush. Both Mr Prodi and Mr Bolten are former employees of Goldman Sachs, the investment bank that advises BP. BP’s former chairman Peter Sutherland also held a senior role at Goldman.

The group has been helping the oil giant to defend its interests against a fierce onslaught from the US Government, which intensified yesterday as it emerged that 44 US Senators have signed a letter demanding that BP does not pay a dividend next month.

Bolten became most famous during the Bush administration when the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold Bolten and former Bush counsel Harriet Miers in contempt after they refused to cooperate in an investigation into the administration’s firings of U.S. attorneys.

This aggressive PR campaign by BP may actually be having the opposite effect of what the company is hoping for. Last week, President Obama chastised BP for devoting its resources in this area instead of to the people along the Gulf Coast who are struggling to maintain a living because the spill took away their occupations:

My understanding is, is that BP has contracted for $50 million worth of TV advertising to manage their image during the course of this disaster. In addition, there are reports that BP will be paying $10.5 billion “” that’s billion with a B “” in dividend payments this quarter.

Now, I don’t have a problem with BP fulfilling its legal obligations. But I want BP to be very clear, they’ve got moral and legal obligations here in the Gulf for the damage that has been done. And what I don’t want to hear is, when they’re spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money on TV advertising, that they’re nickel-and-diming fishermen or small businesses here in the Gulf who are having a hard time.

BP shares “plunged” in London today, with investors “shaken by the prospect that the British oil giant might cut its dividend.” UK business leaders are upset at the criticism the Obama administration is directing at BP, and Prime Minister David Cameron will be speaking with Obama about BP this weekend.

In response to its tumbling stock prices on the New York Exchange last night, BP said it was “not aware of any reason which justifies this share price movement.”

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9 Responses to As both its stock and image collapses, BP hires former Bush-Cheney and Goldman-Sachs officials to ˜defend its interests and restore its reputation

  1. mike roddy says:

    Goldman Sachs, Citibank, and trust accounts that cater to the wealthy are all intimately involved with fossil fuel companies, which have become the risk equivalent of government bonds, but with much higher returns.

    The rich are shaken by the spill, because they go crazy when their unearned income declines. That’s why they all admire Exxon for the way they “managed” their little problem in Prince William Sound, with the help of their legal team and the Roberts Court.

    It’s very important that the financial penalties applied to BP correspond to the damage to ecosystem services in the Gulf, which are equal to or greater than BP’s market capitalization. This market signal could wake up the complacent and lazy rich investors, used to oil companies and governments making their lives stress free. The insurance that will be required in the future, or the internal implied risk, will make offshore and heavy oil much more costly, driving cleaner alternatives.

    BP’s TV ads and phony expressions of concern won’t save them. People are waking up.

  2. prokaryote says:

    I think it’s striking to see what BP planed to spend in comparsion to their PR campaign – green washing.

    BP estimates that it will spend about $84 million through June to compensate for lost wages and profits caused by the spill.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/06/bp-ads-backfires-gets-cri_n_602124.html

    BP (NYSE:BP) (LON:BP) said they’re going to provide grants to Mississippi, Florida and Alabama totaling $75 million, to be evenly distributed among the three states to help them ease the effects of the oil spill.
    http://commoditysurge.blogspot.com/2010/06/bp-nysebp-providing-75-million-in.html

    Media ignores Goldman Sachs’ ties to Corexit dispersant
    http://beforeitsnews.com/story/47/273/Media_ignores_Goldman_Sachs_ties_to_Corexit_dispersant.html

    BP Operating Revenue
    2009 – $239,272,000,000
    http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=BP

    The only future oil companies have, is a switch to clean energy.
    I doubt that their PR will have any significant outcome. BP has itself branded with environmental destruction.

    Time for Saulus to become Paulus.

  3. catman306 says:

    Now commercial banks are getting worried about the financial effects of the Gulf Oil Gusher. If banks are worried, then rich folks are worried too.

    Synovus May Feel Impact From Oil Spill

    http://www.gpb.org/news/2010/06/10/synovus-may-feel-impact-from-oil-spill

  4. prokaryote says:

    the American Petroleum Institute brings us this “informative” film about oyster farmers in Louisiana who are angry at the oil drilling industry. Well, guess what? The oil isn’t hurting the oysters. In fact, they love oily water.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhTx0a0AkdE

    Btw. the API acknowledges climate change in this informative flick.

  5. prokaryote says:

    Jon Stewart’s Outlook on BP Gulf Spill: “We’re So F*$ked” (Video)
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/06/jon-stewart-outlook-bp-gulf-spill-were-so-f-ed.php

  6. prokaryote says:

    The magnitude

    More than $128 billion in U.S. GDP comes from our oceans tourism recreation and living resources.
    http://www.nature.org/multimedia/features/art30988.html?src=sp1

  7. From Peru says:

    What is “PR”?

    And also I am impressed seeing Romano Prodi, who headed a Demochristian-Socialist-Communist coalition government in Italy between 2006 and 2008, messed with Big Business(that is BP and Goldmann Sachs)…

  8. prokaryote says:

    After BP cleans up the oil, it has to clean up its image

    After the oil stops gushing, however, there are steps BP could take to begin to rehabilitate its image, say corporate image gurus and public relations executives:

    •Go ultra-green. BP should become the oil industry’s pro-environment leader with a number of substantive, concrete actions, say Lynne Doll, president of The Rogers Group, a crisis communications specialist.
    http://www.usatoday.com/money/industries/energy/2010-06-14-bpimage14_ST_N.htm