BP Chief Tony Hayward is scheduled to appear before Congress at 10 a.m. Thursday, a day after meeting with President Obama
and promising a $20 billion compensation fund
for the oil spill in the Gulf. Suggestions for how to punish BP
and predictions for how the hearing will go are plentiful. The Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein
's idea that what's needed right now is a show of cooperation on the spill--"The Barack and Tony Show"--raises an interesting question: as we're about to see more of him, what do we know about Tony Hayward? Who is this man headed in for a tongue-lashing by
- 'An Easy Target,' writes Daily Finance's Sam Gustin.
"This is the executive who infamously said he would 'like his life
back' and predicted that the 'environmental impact of this disaster is
likely to have been very, very modest.'" He will try to "strike an
empathetic tone," predicts Gustin, "[b]ut no amount of 'I feel your
pain' is likely to shield Hayward from lawmakers' wrath."
Gaffe-Prone, Not Going Anywhere "Though he's been ubiquitous
throughout the spill--often to his and BP's detriment, given his
propensity to say the wrong thing--he hasn't yet come in for
questioning in Washington, and his meeting Wednesday with President
Barack Obama was his first," notes Time's Bryan Walsh.
Also, while he tells readers to "expect that much of the hearing will
involve Congress members competing to see who can make Hayward squirm
more," he adds that "Tony Hayward has shown no inclination to quit, and
don't expect a few angry members of Congress to change that now."
- Been Through Rough Times Before The Daily Beast
makes a point of noting the CEO's rocky rise to the top in their
profile of him: "Hayward got his job as the oil giant was still dealing
with a criminal investigation into disaster--the 2005 explosion of its
Texas City refinery, which killed 15. (His predecessor, Lord
Browne--who had long groomed Hayward as a successor--abruptly resigned
amid unrelated legal trouble and tabloid sex scandals.)"
- BP May
See Him as a Liability "BP CEO Tony Hayward has proven to be the kind
of spokesman that the company can't let veer too far off-message,"
decides Frances Martel
at Mediaite. Comparing the draft of his congressional statement to the
"original BP response ad," she says 'the similarity in language ...
seem[s] to indicate that BP doesn't quite trust Hayward with a broader
message, or that they have faith that those words will reflect
positively on them."
- Which, Paradoxically, Lowers the Stakes for This One Hearing Chad Pergram
at Fox's The Speaker's Lobby blog points out that most Congressional
hearings boil down to a single moment that remains in the public
consciousness. Sometimes this moment is a mistake made by the one
testifying. However, he gives one convincing reason why this won't be
the case with Hayward: he's already made too many other mistakes.
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