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Oh no, he didn't.

You can't make these things up. You just can't.  BP's Tony Hayward was at a yachting event sponsored by JP Morgan today.

As oil spews in Gulf, BP chief at UK yacht race

LONDON - BP chief executive Tony Hayward, often criticized for being tone-deaf to American concerns about the worst oil spill in U.S. history, took time off Saturday to attend a glitzy yacht race off England's Isle of Wight.

Spokeswoman Sheila Williams said Hayward took a break from overseeing BP efforts to stem the undersea gusher in Gulf of Mexico to watch his boat "Bob" participate in the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

Update 1: He's not just watching the race, he's on his boat, "Bob".
http://abcnews.go.com/... (h/t to electiledisfunction in comments below)
Further updates will be at the bottom of the diary

BP, that poor old company that was recently shaken down by mean, mean President Obama (who, by contrast, will be having some private time at that now luxurious and lovely smelling Gulf coast) tries to spin this... somehow:

In a statement, BP described Hayward's break as "a rare moment of private time" and said that "no matter where he is, he is always in touch with what is happening within BP" and can direct recovery operations if required.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

Based on a GoogleNews search, it looks like the UK's DailyMail had a story about this:

But oops, now it's gone:

UPDATE: The DailyMail story is back online.  Having not seen the original full story, I don't know if it was changed:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...




Why don't you bring "Bob" to the Gulf, Mr. Hayward?

OFF THE LOUISIANA COAST---A controlled burn of oil from the Deepwater Horizon/BP oil spill sends towers of fire hundreds of feet into the air over the Gulf of Mexico June 9. Coast Guard Photo by Petty Officer First Class John Masson.

Heavily oiled Brown Pelicans captured at Grand Isle, Louisiana on Thursda, June 3, 2010 wait to be cleaned of Gulf spill crude at The Fort Jackson Wildlife Care Center in Buras, LA.

Photo Credit: IBRRC

---------------

Update 2: Tony's Defenders

"It's a well-known event in the British calendar. He's entitled to private time with his family," said BP spokesman Robert Wine.

...

"He's continuing to work hard. You don't have to be physically in a location to remain in charge of the response," said Wine.
http://www.nydailynews.com/...

A company spokeswoman said: "We wouldn't dream of commenting on what the chief executive does in his rare moments of private time."
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/...

Update 3: This isn't going over well, Tony

The original AP story has been updated:

LONDON — In what one environmentalist described as "yet another public relations disaster" for embattled energy giant BP, CEO Tony Hayward took time off Saturday to attend a glitzy yacht race around England's Isle of Wight.

As social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook lit up with outrage, BP spokespeople rushed to defend Hayward, who has drawn withering criticism as the public face of BP's halting efforts to stop the worst oil spill in U.S. history.
http://www.chron.com/...

The embattled chief executive of BP seems to have made yet another embarrassing PR gaffe by attended a yachting event on the Isle of Wight.

As company officials insisted Tony Hayward was still in charge of the operation to control the Gulf of Mexico spill amid confusion over his role, someone who resembles him was seen relaxing at the JP Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race.

...

But Hugh Walding, the co-ordinator of the Isle of Wight Friends of the Earth, criticised Mr Hayward for his outing, saying he deserved all the criticism he was getting over his failure to control the oil spill.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/...

BP chief 'sailing into PR disaster'

Charlie Kronick, of Greenpeace, said Mr Hayward's actions were "rubbing salt into the wounds" of people whose communities are affected by the catastrophe.

...

Mr Walding [co-ordinator of the Isle of Wight Friends of the Earth] said: "I'm sure that this will be seen as yet another public relations disaster for him from people who have got exceedingly upset about this whole thing. Personally I don't think that the bloke is particularly competent from the results that he has delivered. He obviously doesn't have the technical know-how but he should at least be managing the image of the company better."
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/...

Hayward Sailing Into Further Trouble?

When I heard earlier today that Tony Hayward, the under pressure boss of BP, was spending his Saturday with 'Bob', I assumed it meant that he was working alongside Robert Dudley, the executive taking of day-to-day operations in the Gulf of Mexico, on the company's ongoing operation there.

But no. The Bob that Hayward has this afternoon been spotted with is the name of a boat he jointly owns and which has been taking part in today's Round the Island yacht race

The Round the Island Race website lists the boat as having been entered by Hayward, Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica, the owner of British Gas, and Rob Gray, an investment banker at Deutsche Bank who has been close to BP for more than 20 years. It's not clear if Laidlaw, a respected figure in the energy industry, and Gray, were also there today.

http://blogs.news.sky.com/...

From Twitter:

Yeah, stick to yachting MT @jaketapper Rahm to BP CEO Hayward: Stay out of PR. http://bit.ly/... (From our interview, pre-taped just now)
http://twitter.com/...

[Editor's note: Now that one is a double entendre beauty if I ever saw one]

Oil Spill Disaster: just reported that Hayward has left area and is attending a yachting event. Aint that just sweet.
http://twitter.com/...

WOW, THIS GUY DOESN'T GET IT. BP chief Tony Hayward attends yachting event off English island.
http://twitter.com/...

RT @BreakingNews: BP chief Tony Hayward attends yachting event off English island, spokeswoman says - AP<-(Why not yacht in the Gulf?!) <br>http://twitter.com/...

Update 4: Turns out, BP's Chairman "Small People" Svanberg was on a yachting vacation last week too

Heraldsun  :     BP's ELUSIVE chairman Henric Svanberg faced public wrath Thursday as he finally abandoned his yachting vacation off the southern coast of Thailand in favor of the oil-soaked shores of the U.S. Gulf coast.
http://foreign.peacefmonline.com/...

Originally posted to joanneleon on Sat Jun 19, 2010 at 09:12 AM PDT.

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