Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Senator Irate Over BP CEO's No-Show

U. S. Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey says he has been notified by BP that CEO Tony Hayward will not testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing Menendez will chair on Thursday.

In a harshly worded statement, Menendez says, “I would have thought that a company on thin ice with the American people for devastating the Gulf Coast would want to fully cooperate with our effort to fully understand the release of a terrorist who murdered 189 Americans. It is apparently more important to BP and Mr. Hayward to focus on his multi-million dollar golden parachute than to help answer serious lingering questions about whether the company advocated trading blood for oil. Though it may be convenient for BP to move Mr. Hayward out of his position, it does not change the need for answers. I will continue to request his presence at the hearing. The bottom line is that we need to hear from BP officials at the highest levels who had significant contact with both the Libyan and British governments – by all accounts, Mr. Hayward best fits that bill.”

Hayward is departing as chief executive officer, though he won't be leaving the company completely. Hayward steps down October 1, to be succeeded by American Robert Dudley.

BP also reports it has taken a pretax charge of $32.2 billion for the Gulf of Mexico spill, and plans to sell assets for up to $30 billion over the next 18 months.

Hayward will receive a year's salary of 1.045 million pounds ($1.6 million) as part of his severance package. He will also be entitled to draw an annual pension of 600,000 pounds from a pension pot valued at around 11 million pounds and retains his rights to shares under a long-term performance program which could eventually be worth several million pounds if BP's share price recovers.

Menendez will chair the hearing Thursday on the release of convicted Pan Am 103 bomber Abdulbaset al-Magrehi, who was released by the Scottish government on humanitarian grounds after doctors gave him only three months to live. Eleven months later al-Magrehi is alive in his native Libya.

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