Leader: BP needing fresh leadership
After the appalling disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, oil giant BP has been fighting for survival. That requires a sweeping change of leadership. No matter that its chief executive Tony Hayward may have been competent in untroubled times.
It is in crisis that leadership really matters. Both in his immediate response to the disaster, and before the US Congress, Mr Hayward fell short.
Now that the immediate crisis has passed and the company seeks to convince the world it has learned the lessons and changed its culture, fresh leadership is due.
Mr Hayward is said to be close to departure and Robert Dudley, who replaced Mr Hayward overseeing day-to-day operations in the Gulf, is being groomed to take over. His American background makes him an immediately more credible voice with senior US regulators and politicians.
But another change is still pending at BP. That is the replacement of Carl- Henric Svanberg as chairman. Institutional investors were particularly unhappy at his lack of visibility throughout the crisis when the company most needed the commanding presence of someone who could connect with shareholders, politicians and the wider public.
There may be a corporate stability argument for not replacing the chief executive and the chairman at the same time. But there can be little doubt that the chairman, too, must be replaced.