Corporate PR: BP Seeking New PR Head
After the disastrous PR campaign that surrounded the Gulf of Mexico mishap, BP attempted to regain face in different ways, from changing the CEO, to even, according to recent reports, looking for a new head of media relations. Andrew Gowers, who is currently occupying the position, will not be sacked, but probably assigned to a different position.
The Telegraph reported that Bob Dudley, who will replace Tony Hayward as the company’s CEO next month, is actively involved in the process. Naturally, Dudley will want a team that operates as he envisions the process. Tony Hayward’s PR team has seen good times, when they managed to introduce a greener, environmental conscious BP, but when the hard got harder, their strategy failed lamentably.
Earlier this week, BP confirmed that the leaking Macondo well had finally been sealed, but this success came too late to “wash” BP’s stained reputation. The new PR head, will have a difficult task repairing the irreparable. It will take years and years for BP to be perceived as “environmentally friendly” or “environmentally conscious.”
On top of everything, BP faces civil and criminal investigations in the US. This means that the future PR chief needs to be skilled enough to deal with such negative situations, and a good crisis-management expert is hard to find. My guess is that Dudley will assign a Washington lobbyist – the safest bet in the matter.