BP’s former CEO, Tony Hayward, blames public scrutiny for his dismissal from the leadership of the oil company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. In an interview with the BBC to be televised this evening, the erstwhile chief complained about an “enormous feeding frenzy” from the media. Hayward famously complained in May that he wanted his life back and promised that “the environmental impact of this disaster is likely to be very, very modest,” leading him to be pilloried by everyone from Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) to South Park. In the interview, he expressed anger about criticism for going yachting with his son, and reiterated that his only fault was his poor handling of the media:
If I had done a degree at Rada [The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art] rather than a degree in geology, I may have done better, but I’m not certain it would’ve changed the outcome. But certainly the perception of myself may have been different.
Hayward argued that the “full glare of the media” made “some extraordinary engineering” look like “fumbling and incompetence.” “We were completely overrun” by a flood of news cameras that spread over the coast and smothered BP’s reputation, he said, “and just not prepared to deal with the intensity of the media scrutiny.” Watch some excerpts:
Hayward told the BBC he was was confident that if BP had stopped the gusher in early June — after 11 men had been killed and 100 million gallons of oil had already spewed into the Gulf of Mexico and devastated the ocean — he would still be the CEO.