The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill is a horrible natural disaster that the area might never recover from.  This much is known.  Many people have asked why we haven’t written anything on our blog about it.  So why we aren’t using it when it comes to business interruptions?  The answer is simple; it is such a massive incident that most people can’t wrap their heads around it.  They think “we aren’t a petroleum company, so it doesn’t apply.”  While that is true, I was reading an article about how BP share prices have dropped for the second day in a row.  Half way down this article, there is a perfect Business Continuity piece that ties back to handling the media (for more info, see the articles here and here).  The following helps tie it all together:

On the corporate front, BP shareholders would prefer to sacrifice the company’s Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg rather than CEO Hayward over the ongoing crisis, the Times of London reported in its Wednesday edition.

Citing an unidentified person close to the British company, the Times said shareholders had more confidence in Hayward’s ability to supervise BP’s response to the crisis than Svanberg, who has been largely invisible.

“The mood within the company and among shareholders is clear — they are supportive of Tony, who they feel has done his best in a very bad situation, but they are unimpressed by Svanberg,” the London newspaper reported the person as saying.

A BP spokesman dismissed the claims that former Ericsson boss Svanberg, who took over the role of chairman in January, would consider stepping down.

All of this is taking place against the backdrop of rising public anger and an unfolding ecological catastrophe.

This means that not only will BP lose an immense amount of money, but they might also lose their Chairman during the darkest hours of their existence.  This leads to managing public perception and ensuring you (or your company) don’t fall prey to the hounds in the media.  You will notice that during this excerpt there is no mention of “who” became the face of the issue.  There is also no mention of “why” the CEO would speak instead of the Chairman.  Lastly, there is now “an unidentified person” kicking the Chairman to the curb.

How does this impact my company?

When you are planning, make sure your highest ranking official is the face of the incident.  If they can’t be, clearly state what they are doing to save the company (running operations, meeting with shareholders, etc.).  It’s likely that Chairman Svanberg is a better business person and will be better for running the recovery of BP.  If they are largely “invisible”, they and possibly your company will meet the same fate.

For the full article read more at: Telegraph.co.uk

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