New American CEO Brings Good News for BP

The Story

Bob Dudley finally replaces Tony Hayward, the former CEO of BP.  Hayward has been held responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf -- and for a host of public relations failures, which added embarrassment to the company.  BP shares rose 3% on Friday as Dudley took the company lead and suggested that shareholder dividends, which had been suspended, may be reinstated.

Bob Dudley BP

Read more here and hereImage source.

Discussion Starters

  • What is the significance of Dudley, as BP's first American CEO, taking the lead at this point? How do you think this move might be received by people in the Gulf?  How might people within BP react?
  • What are Dudley's challenges in rebuilding BP's image? 
  • How can Dudley use the positive news of dividends to fuel (sorry) his positive messages?

Assignment Ideas

  • Analyze a segment of Dudley's interview on BCC News. As a media consultant, provide your feedback: what did Dudley do well, and what changes do you suggest?  Write a memo summarizing your feedback to him directly.
  • Write an article for BP's website announcing Bob Dudley's new role.  How will you position him and address Tony Hayward's departure?  After you finish a draft of your article, review BP's version of the announcement.  How does yours compare?  What, if any, changes would you make to your draft after seeing the official announcement?
  • Write an email to employees about the 3% increase in share price. How can you promote this as a first step in BP's recovery?
  • Imagine that you're Dudley.  Start a CEO blog and write your first entry.  How will you introduce yourself to the customers, investors, and the public?