Tony Hayward, the BP CEO who wanted his life back after the travails of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, will be replaced by managing director Robert Dudley on October 1. Hayward was excoriated for minimizing the disaster and complaining about the public outcry. Media reports on the expected transition emphasize that the little-known Dudley is an American from Mississippi, now in charge of BP’s Gulf Coast response. However, there is little reason to expect that the incoming BP CEO will change anything other than the accent. In his public appearances, Dudley has defended Tony Hayward, minimized the toxic threat, and greenwashed BP’s chaotic record:
Describing the dispersant Corexit, a combination of petroleum distillates, propylene glycol, and dioctyl sodium sulfosuccinate:
It is essentially like soap. It’s like dish soap. [PBS Newshour, May 19]
On Corexit, again:
It’s not far off of the toxicity levels of dish soap. [PBS Newshour, July 1]
Dismissing the threat of oil to the Gulf Coast:
We’re not seeing anything like what you see in Louisiana in any of the other states.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Yet, you’re saying?
ROBERT DUDLEY: I don’t think that’s going to happen, Judy. [PBS Newshour, May 25]
Blaming the blowout preventer for the disaster:
The failure of the blowout preventers, which is the ultimate multiple redundant fail-safe system, has not happened like this before. [CNN State of the Union, May 30]
On Tony Hayward:
I think he’s done a great job of leading a company to stand up and do the right thing. . . . I think Tony’s doing a fantastic job. [Meet the Press, May 30]
Why America needs to let BP keep making huge profits:
I think I would look at some of the process today as just making sure that through that sentiment we don’t actually shoot the dog who is trying to bring home the bone and meet its obligations all across the Gulf, and we are going to be there a long time. [Fox News, June 16]
Whatever Bob Dudley’s roots, he is now, like Tony Hayward, a millionaire living in England with the mission of converting oil into cash. Dudley will return to BP’s London headquarters to run the toxic oil giant, continuing its shareholder-focused gamble on extreme deepwater drilling and catastrophic pollution throughout the world, from Azerbaijan to Libya.