DISASTER IN THE MAKING
Tony Hayward, BP's CEO at the time of the oil spill, came to personify a cold corporate stance on the tragedy. "I'd like my life back," he said at one point in the exhausting aftermath -- five words that sped his ouster soon after.
But Lustgarten traces the seeds of the oil spill disaster to Hayward's predecessor, Lord John Browne, an iconic BP executive who resigned as CEO suddenly in 2007 amid a scandal involving a former boyfriend.
Browne's ascendance in the 1990s came at a challenging time for Big Oil, Lustgarten writes.
With oil prices relatively low, and aging sources peaking in production, oil majors like BP were in a race to find new reserves. But the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska had made environmental concerns paramount.
BP, at Browne's urging, embraced the "green" banner boldly to the chagrin of Browne's oil industry peers, Lustgarten says. It was Browne who led the rebranding of the company with the slogan, "Beyond Petroleum." But that embrace was in message only, not in practice, the author writes.
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