Peter Hoskin

The Hayward saga draws to a close

The Hayward saga draws to a close
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There has been an inevitability about Tony Hayward's departure from BP ever since the first aftershocks of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. But now, despite BP's peculiar denials this morning, that inevitability has reached fever pitch - and it's widely expected that Hayward will be booted out of his job tomorrow morning. As a thousand comment writers have quipped, he can now get his life back.

The question on most observer's minds is, does he deserve it? And it's a question which Allister Heath answers persuasively in City AM today. My quick take is that, yes, Hayward came under unfair and politically-motivated fire at times, but much of the criticism flung in his direction was warranted and understandable. Even though he wasn't employed to be the public face of one of the largest ecological disasters in history, his gaffe-fuelled response to it hardly inspired confidence. And, in the end, major chief execs are richly rewarded in part because of the potential for colossal risk and uncertainty in their jobs. An alleged multi-£million payoff deal indicates that Hayward still stands to do very well, at least financially speaking, from his time at BP.

The hope now is that Hayward's departure will suck much of the poison from the situation. There has been too much politicking and cheap theatre surrounding the BP spill, much of it from people in and around the American government. Surely the appointment of a new chief exec at BP must mark a fresh approach from all sides.