Last night, former BP CEO Tony Hayward addressed the students of Cambridge University at the Cambridge Union Society, about that whole "destroying the Gulf Of Mexico" thingy that happened all last summer. Did he take the opportunity to launch his much-needed, 2010 "I've Decided To Just Stop Talking" Tour? Sadly, no. Once again, Hayward fretted about being unprepared for the "alarmist media reporting" and "strident media" tone, which, as I noted earlier, was a strange contention, given that the one thing BP really, really, really seemed prepared to do was combat the media.
Apparently, at least one member of the venerable debating society was willing to get alarmist and strident:
According to Hayward, the damage to the Gulf of Mexico has turned out to be much less than it was feared and reported in the press. At one point he said, "All of the oil is now gone."
When pressed by a student to explain his assertion that the oil had disappeared, Hayward launched into a technical discussion about the abundance of bacteria in the Gulf of Mexcio, which combined with chemical dispersants, had caused the oil to break up very quickly.
As it turns out, Hayward's contention really depends on what your definition of "gone" is.
Hayward also spoke about his personal role in the crisis, particularly regarding the coverage he has received in the United States. According to him, he became a "target of universal hate" and "the most hated man in America."
However, Hayward appears to have brushed off the criticism, saying "Life doesn't always work out the way you planned it."
Then again, when you're racking up the safety violations at BP's brisk clip, sometimes the way life works out is a direct result of your planning. Still, Hayward seems pretty sanguine about the whole thing, saying, "The biggest lesson I learned was how to manage expectations." I guess that narrowly beat out the lessons he learned on how to calculatedly obfuscate the amount of oil your company belched into the Gulf of Mexico.
Former BP CEO criticises "strident" media at Cambridge Union appearance [Varsity]
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Hayward: BP Was Unprepared For 'Media Scrutiny'