BP boss fiddles while the Gulf burns

Is there a comparison between the actions of Tony Hayward and those of Nero?

By Jim Van Meerten Jun 21, 2010 12:32PM
I promised myself I would not write any more about British Petroleum (BP), but the company just keeps digging itself deeper into a hole of stupidity.

My local paper had three front-page photos this weekend. The first showed chief executive Tony Hayward yachting. The second compared the environmental impact of the oil spill to the Dust Bowl disaster of the 1930s. And the third showed the massive fires in the Gulf burning off the oil. Flip in one page, and there was a picture of workers in jumpsuits with hand tools cleaning the beaches.
Immediately into my mind popped the comparison of how Nero fiddled while Rome was in flames. The next image was of Marie Antoinette saying "let them eat cake!" when told the people had no bread. Sounds very much like Hayward's reply of "Well, I'd like my life back, too." I guess maybe the French were smarter than we are. We all remember how they got even with her.

Today, instead of taking care of business in the Gulf and getting this 21-inch pipe plugged, Hayward decided to go to Russia to suck up to the Russians before they shut down BP's operations there.
Bernie Madoff caused his investors to lose only $18 billion. Since an April 19 close of $59.48, BP's stock has tumbled to $30.83 -- a loss of almost $89 billion to investors, many of whom are retirees and pension funds dependent on the dividend for income.

What do I want from BP? How about just trying to make me believe it cares. How about a photo of all the executive officers and the board of directors in jumpsuits with rakes and shovels cleaning the beaches?

Better yet, how about a finding that BP's actions are no longer gross negligence but have risen to a finding of criminal negligence?

Who is benefiting? The short-sellers and hedge funds are making a killing. The day the well is plugged, those that jump in will make another quick fortune. Too bad they won't share with the innocent stockholders who put their belief in a stable dividend to pay bills in their golden years or the innocent fishermen, waitresses and maids who depended on the beauty of the Gulf to make a living.

Hey, Tony, why don't you tell them to eat cake!


Jim Van Meerten is an investor who writes on financial matters on Financial Tides, Barchart Portfolio Blogs, Seeking Alpha, Marketocracy and MSN Top Stocks. Please leave a comment below or email JimVanMeerten@gmail.com


Disclosure: No positions in BP at the time of publication

Tags: BP
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?


Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.


StockScouter rates stocks from 1 to 10, with 10 being the best, using a system of advanced mathematics to determine a stock's expected risk and return. Ratings are displayed on a bell curve, meaning there will be fewer ratings of 1 and 10 and far more of 4 through 7.

125 rated 1
264 rated 2
485 rated 3
679 rated 4
640 rated 5
617 rated 6
632 rated 7
493 rated 8
276 rated 9
153 rated 10

Top Picks

TAT&T Inc9



Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.

Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.

Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.