November 11, 2010 Leave a comment
Unlike the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the need for companies to have robust enterprise risk management (“ERM”) programs became crystal clear during an interview of former BP CEO Tony Hayward aired this week by the BBC. Here’s some of the highlights from the interview.
Former BP PLC chief Tony Hayward has acknowledged that the company was unprepared for the disastrous Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the media frenzy it spawned, and said the firm came close to financial disaster as its credit sources evaporated.
In an interview with the BBC to be broadcast Tuesday, Hayward said company’s contingency plans were inadequate and “we were making it up day to day.”
Hayward said BP had found itself unable to borrow from international investors during the spill crisis, threatening its finances. He said that before a meeting with President Barack Obama at the White House in June, “the capital markets were effectively closed to BP.” “We were not able to borrow in the capital markets, either short or medium term debt at all, ” he said. “It was a classic financial crisis issue.”
Hayward’s successor, Bob Dudley, told the program that “these were frightening days” for BP. “With a company the size of BP, its reputation, what it does — you almost can’t quite believe how close you are” to financial disaster, he said.
This interview demonstrates the catastrophic impacts of a risk event not only to the environment at large, but also to every corner of the company responsible for the event occurring. BP obviously did not have a comprehensive ERM program at the ready that resulted in improvisation and ultimately a full-blown crisis. Only a company of BP’s size and resources could weather this type of event. So, how effective is your ERM program?