Tony Hayward: When disgraced CEOs have a bright future
The public relations folks at BP aren't likely to get much rest following the reported departure of BP CEO Tony Hayward, who is expected to step down following a company board meeting today.
The Times of London is reporting that Hayward's exit package will be worth £12 million, or $18.5 million, a figure that includes a payout of one year's salary (or about £1 million) plus a pension account worth £10.8 million as of the end of 2009.
While that's hardly chump change, other CEOs who've left under pressure have been handed far higher amounts, and considering the damage the disaster has inflicted on Hayward's career, he may be negotiating for much more. Cue the sound of rattling pitchforks.
Eighteen million dollars may go a long way to funding whatever pasttime Hayward chooses now that he has his life back. Hayward's chances at running a large public multinational again are about as likely as his successor's at skimming every ounce of oil from the surface of the Gulf, but he's only 53, and with time, will have plenty of opportunities, say experts on the career trajectories of CEOs.
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, an associate dean at the Yale School of Management and author of Firing Back: How great leaders rebound after career disasters, believes Hayward could become a professional director on corporate boards. A more likely scenario, Sonnenfeld told me this morning, is the geologist-by-training finding work with private equity firms that invest in energy companies, shielded from the spotlight.
"He's not a great global diplomat," he says, but notes that "he has great technical proficiency" that could be much in demand by private equity firms who seem to be more than happy to reinstall disgraced leaders if they have the right operational or technical chops.
Andrea Redmond, the author of Comebacks: Powerful lessons from leaders who endured setbacks and recaptured success on their own terms, says what Hayward needs now is time and distance from the Deepwater Horizon fiasco, which will be difficult for him since he will surely be drug back into legal testimony and further hearings. But with time, advisory services could be in his future.
"For other multinational companies that get into this situation in the U.S., [where they] get totally blindsided, there are a lot of people who will want to hear what he has to say," Redmond told me. In other words, he might just be able to turn the BP debacle into his own consulting niche.
And if that doesn't work out, he can always go sailing.
UPDATE: Steven Mufson writes that Tony Hayward may be headed to Siberia. Literally. A source familiar with the discussions between Hayward and BP's board, he reports, says Hayward will join the board of TNK-BP, a joint venture in Russia. I can see the NY Post headline now.
July 26, 2010; 1:16 PM ET |
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