The departure of CEO provides no resolution

Tony Hayward, former CEO of BP at the time of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is being transferred to a demoted role at BP’s joint venture in Russia. The demotion is bittersweet however, at least from the public’s perspective, since Hayward’s severance package is comprised of a lump sum of $1.6-million, and an additional yearly pension of $930,000.

It is doubtless that after the Gulf of Mexico catastrophe, Hayward had to leave, however, using Hayward as the sole scapegoat for the disaster is neither fair, nor will it ensure avoidance of further accidents. In fact, with Hayward, the supposed only reason that the accident happened in the first place, drilling companies can now feel that they are justified in continuing the same practices as they had before.

A severe re-examination of the rules and operating procedures of the oil industry needs to be performed instead, and blaming the Brit, and Barack Obama is not an answer to the grand problem at hand.

That human error and unfortunate coincidence could yield the spill costs of $32 billion and second-quarter losses of $17 billion are not a future that any executive would look forward to, and a regulatory environment which is less accident-prone is perhaps vital here.

Despite the changeover from Hayward to Robert Dudley, BP has not really implemented any changes into its inner workings. In fact, Dudley insists that BP was not negligent, and a massive accident is to blame in actuality, an accident that came about from individual misjudgements by very experienced people, as well as purely coincidental equipment glitches.

Given the legal and financial complications of the situation, it was unlikely that Dudley would have said anything else. Dudley did however state what BP should have a long time ago, that the company’s policies, culture and operations will all be re-evaluated in the face of this disaster.

Hayward’s departure is certainly no fix for the problem, and rather than blame and punish someone after the fact, future prevention is gravely needed.