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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Meet Bob Dudley

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 5:02 PM

As former (and self-described "demonized") BP CEO Tony Hayward prepares for Siberia, the oil giant will welcome in its first ever American CEO, Robert Dudley — who grew up in Hattiesburg, Miss., is a 20-year man with Amoco, and is BP's hope to save its stateside reputation.

Putting an American CEO in place, particularly one from the Gulf Coast region, could certainly help BP better manage the public relations nightmare the company is now facing, both locally and nationally.

Dudley repeats Hayward's "personal commitment" refrain when addressing cleanup and capping efforts — maybe in different context as a Mississippian. But compare Dudley's pre-succession comments to Hayward's testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in June — he stonewalled, denied any evidence BP may have prioritized its costs before safety, defended the "fail-safe" blowout preventer (despite its, you know, failure), and defended all of BP's response.

Dudley's interview with PBS earlier this month showed him willing to point out BP's mistakes and imperfections:

... the cleanup effort has not been perfect. We have had to respond and allocate resources from Louisiana all the way across to Florida. And we have had to do that sometimes very quickly. There's been gaps in the defenses, and you almost have to think about this as an invasion of oil to make sure that you're ready for it.

We have had some — some devastating pictures, particularly in Louisiana, of the oil that's got into the marshes. The beaches are easier to clean. The marshes, particularly, are very sensitive. They take a long time. You flush them. We even have crews out there that clean blades of grass.

But it's something you have to be very, very careful about. We see boom that gets washed up. If it's out there, the tides come. The storm that we're having actually today with Hurricane Alex has raised high levels of waves all across the Gulf. It's disrupting the booms. We're going to have to go back and replace those booms.

We're going to bring in even airships or blimps in parts of the Gulf, so they can actually direct the ships. We're learning as we go. It hasn't been perfect, or you wouldn't see sights like that. But the effort has really doubled in the last month.

But Dudley also refuted claims that cleanup crews were bussed in for show when President Barack Obama visited Louisiana's coast in May, and he sidestepped questions about Corexit toxicity.

Tony's still on board until Nov. 30, and will leave Oct. 1 to join as a non-executive director at Russia's TNK-BP.

Its former chief? Robert Dudley.

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