BP turns on the charm

The company's CEO travels the world to win back the confidence of oil partners and investors.

By Kim Peterson Jul 7, 2010 2:01PM
Credit: (© Alastair Grant/AP)
Caption: BP stationBP (BP) has been anything but charming in this oil crisis. Tony "I'd like my life back" Hayward is already in the hall of fame for CEO gaffes, and the company has been tone-deaf to frustrated investors.

That could start to change, as BP launches what one investor calls a "charm offensive" to win back the hearts of the market and partners. We know BP already has the "offensive" part nailed down. What about the charm?

Hayward is flying around the world to tell countries that it's business-as-usual for BP, The Wall Street Journal reports. He's also assuring them that BP won't sell major assets to come up with the money for its U.S. liabilities.

Hayward has visited Russia, a country that provided a third of BP's oil last year, as well as Abu Dhabi and Azerbaijan. He may head to other oil partners, such as Angola, soon. Post continues after video:
In addition to smoothing relations with partners, Hayward is also encouraging countries who are thinking about buying stakes in BP. An official in Libya, for example, has suggested the country's sovereign wealth fund invest in the company, the Journal reported.

That interest helps to build buzz, and BP shares have been on the rise as investors hope for big money coming in.

So this charm offensive is taking place everywhere but the U.S., it seems. Hayward could score big points here by heading to the Gulf, rolling up his sleeves and caring for sick wildlife for a day. Showing that you care and that you're genuinely sorry would go a long way.

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