In an interview to be aired Tuesday, former BP CEO Tony Hayward said that the company was not prepared to deal with the media “feeding frenzy” following the Gulf oil spill.
Hayward complained to BBC that he had been “demonized and vilified.”
The former CEO explained that he would have been more successful at placating the public if he had an acting degree from The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
“If I had done a degree at Rada [The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art] rather than a degree in geology, I may have done better, but I’m not certain it would’ve changed the outcome,” he said. “But certainly the perception of myself may have been different.”
Hayward expressed frustration with the intense media scrutiny. One sore point was the way the media had called him out for being seen on a yacht while the ruptured well continued to spew oil.
“I have to confess, at the time I was pretty angry actually. I hadn’t seen my son for three months. I was on the boat for six hours, between the hours of midnight and six o’clock in the morning US time and I’m not certain I’d do anything different. I wanted to see my son. The only way I could see my son was to be with him on a boat race he was on,” Hayward said.
Perhaps Hayward’s biggest gaffe was telling residents that he wanted his life back.
Regardless of the public relations mistakes, Hayward believes he still would have had to resign as CEO.
“BP’s contingency plans were inadequate. We were making it up day to day,” Hayward recalled.
“When it was played out in the full glare of the media as it was, of course it looked like fumbling and incompetence.”
The BBC Two documentary BP $30 Billion Blowout is set to air Tuesday at 2100 GMT.
This video is from BBC, broadcast Nov. 9, 2010.