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Disgraced Former BP Chief Returns To Lofty Position

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Tony Hayward left British Petroleum in disgrace following the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, and apparently his reward for his stewardship during one of the biggest environmental disasters in history is a permanent spot on an energy concern’s board. At the risk of hyperbole or just a big stretch of a metaphor, that would be tantamount to  giving Lindbergh baby kidnapper Bruno Richard Hauptmann a stay of execution because he promised to open a low-cost daycare center.

Since leaving BP

Even though Hayward left BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) (LON:BP) in disgrace, he had no shortage of suitors looking for his energy expertise. Expertise, that presumably includes the fact that you shouldn’t dump 5 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. For the last year, Hayward has been serving as acting chairman of Glencore Xstrata PLC (LON:GLEN) following the ouster of Sir John Bond last May.

While it’s tough to hold Hayward personally responsible for the explosion that killed 11 people, destroyed the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands not to mention the environmental damage….but he certainly infuriated many when he famously said “I want my life back.”  For a man who could have been expected to gather moss in the corporate wilderness, he seems to have done quite well for himself in recent years

Peter Grauer, who chairs Glencore Xstrata PLC (LON:GLEN)’s nomination committee, said: “Over the last 12 months, Tony has provided exemplary leadership of the board and proved himself to be the outstanding candidate to take on the role permanently. We continue to look forward to harnessing his in-depth knowledge of the resources industry and of listed company governance to underpin the mandate given to him as chairman to lead the board in helping to deliver long-term, sustainable returns for shareholders.”

Glencore’s oil business

Following his departure from BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) (LON:BP) where he had spent the entirety of his career, Hayward helped form the investment vehicle Vallares which was created to tap into Kudistan’s massive oil reserves. He then, along with business partner Nat Rothschild, bought Turkish oil firm Genel Energy PLC (LON:GENL) and merged it with Vallares. He joined Glencore’s board as and independent director in April 2011, just before the company was floated. Today’s announcement is a pretty clear sign that Glencore Xstrata PLC (LON:GLEN) as oil deals to make and feel Hayward is familiar enough with the industry to make that happen.

Investec analyst Marc Elliott said: “Oil seems to be a growing arm of the Glencore business and if they want to push and expand a bit more Tony’s expertise can certainly help with that.” If not, they’ve simply appointed a scumbag to a permanent position.


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Brendan Byrne

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