BP Spill: Ripples

A tall order for BP’s incoming CEO

Janet Babin Sep 30, 2010
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BP Spill: Ripples

A tall order for BP’s incoming CEO

Janet Babin Sep 30, 2010
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TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: BP’s incoming Chief Executive Bob Dudley
takes the helm tomorrow, but already he’s shaking things up. He’s ousted a top manager and
announced a new safety czar. But it may take more than a change at the top to reform BP’s culture.

Reporter Janet Babin has more.


JANET BABIN: The most urgent item on Bob Dudley’s agenda is to clean up BPs public image. He’s created a whole new division at the company dedicated to safety, with the authority to intervene if standards are ignored.

Amy Jaffe with Rice University says it’s a good start. But she says managers at the top have to make it worthwhile for workers to put safety over productivity.

AMY JAFFE: Put it into your compensation package that you get a compensation bonus based on your safety record, other companies have done it through promotions. People who are competing for similar jobs, their safety record will be taken into account.

Others argue that BP needs to work from the bottom up.

Jorge Pinon is a former BP executive now at Florida International University.

JORGE PINON: Boy I can come up with a very new fancy organization, and I can throw a lot of money at it, and I can come up with the best manuals. But it comes down to that individual, it comes to that operator.

But while BP figures out how to make this new safety culture stick, its competitors focus on expansion.

Analyst Matti Teittinen covers BP at research firm IHS Herold.

MATTI TEITTINEN: Their competitors don’t have the same liability that BP does. So BP will be in an inherent disadvantage in allocation of resources going forward, so that will be a challenge it’ll have to overcome.

BP plans to sell $30 billion in assets to cover the cash needed to clean up the Gulf spill.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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