An “A” for BP’s Transition

January 21, 2007

An “A” for BP’s Transition

We all know all about the Baker report on BP’s safety culture and the early retirement of CEO John Browne. As the expression goes, you would have to be under a rock to have missed the headlines. According to Google, there were nearly two million hits for “Baker Panel.”

There is, however, another story that has not been covered — the smooth transition to new CEO-elect Tony Hayward. The fact that Hayward is an insider CEO and groomed at the feet of Lord Browne is a tale worth writing. Don’t companies get A+’s anymore for good CEO transitions? Clearly BP did its homework and did not feel the need to pull in an outsider to dramatically turnaround the organization.

It is understandable that the focus on the BP transition remains in the shadows. After all, 15 people died in Texas City when the refinery exploded and countless others suffered injuries. But I still believe that there are lessons to be learned from a seamless transition and Browne’s deep smarts in retiring even earlier than originally planned. They deserve at least an A.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross
lesliegainesross@gmail.com

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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