Companies

BP: change at the top is coming

Oil company executives are a particular breed. The role seems to demand a certain cragginess. Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP, neither looks nor sounds like Jock Ewing. This was a handicap in BP’s response to the catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico. He made the initial mistake, which has haunted the company’s response to the leaking well ever since, of assuming that there was a quick operational solution to the leak. If there had been, this geologist would have been the perfect candidate to lead the response. But the Macondo well exposed corporate failure on a scale that would have ended any chief executive’s career. It is right that he should take responsibility for the ensuing debacle. Vincent Boland speaks about the future of BP's Tony Hayward.