SUZANNE PRATT: Joining us again tonight to talk about the grilling of BP CEO Tony Hayward today in Washington is Dean Crutchfield. He is a senior partner at Method, a New York firm that specializes in building corporate brands. Dean, welcome back to the program.
DEAN CRUTCHFIELD, SENIOR PARTNER, METHOD: It’s great to be back Suzanne.
PRATT: So how would you grade Tony Hayward’s performance today?
CRUTCHFIELD: It might have been a long day for Tony Hayward, but it was an even longer day for the American public. It’s estimating another 2 1/2 millions gallons of oil are spewing out into the Gulf as we speak. Let’s face it, matters are at a division of deep regret. BP is mired in litigation, criminal accusations, skullduggery and smear and Tony is the face of that enemy.
PRATT: So why do you think he was so evasive with his answers and why did he seem to skirt most of the questions?
CRUTCHFIELD: I think it was perfectly legally done what he did but what he didn’t do was face the catastrophe that’s unveiled itself and he didn’t give us the answers we needed. There are still big questions about who specifically was responsible for this. Why did it happen? What’s the clean-up strategy? When’s going to be over and where does the American taxpayer have to play a role in this whole debacle. So what he could have done, should have done, was answered the questions better — what he did do was play the legal role and it didn’t come over in the way that it should have.
PRATT: So what if Hayward’s performance mean for the imagine of BP?
CRUTCHFIELD: It sank even deeper and darker today. I think that all of us were very frustrated by what we saw. We saw a lot of legal shenanigans. In fact it was beached on a sludge bank of corporate puff.
PRATT: So do you think he keeps his job?
CRUTCHFIELD: I think eventually we will not have his job. I think we’ll see Svanberg move more into the position of being the public face. I think after this debacle he’ll have to see it through, but I don’t think he has a long-term role at BP as its CEO and we’ve even got Medvedev of Russia saying BP might not have a long history itself going forward.
PRATT: So what do you think about that? Do you agree with that?
CRUTCHFIELD: I think there are some big issues going forward here. They’re trying to maintain their business. They are a commercial operation. We’ve seen large and big oil companies turn around. We’ve seen major companies face catastrophe and get through it. I’m sure BP can do that, but as to the workings of the market and its value going forward and whether it’s an ideal target for someone like Shell to take it over, we’ll have to wait and see. But there’s no guarantee that BP has a long tenure ahead of it including the CEO Tony Hayward.
PRATT: Thank you Dean again for joining us tonight.
CRUTCHFIELD: My pleasure. Thank you very much.
PRATT: Our guest Dean Crutchfield, senior partner at Method.