With apparently little sense for the irony of his statement, BP Chair Carl-Henric Svanberg said of the CEO of his company, Tony Hayward: "It is clear Tony has made remarks that have upset people."
This would be the same Svanberg who caused a stir upon emerging from a White House meeting Tuesday and declaring that oil companies cared about the "small people," contrary to popular opinion.
Svanberg made his comments in an interview with SkyNews.
In the interview, he also indicated that Hayward was being shifted away from daily management of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, which probably will mean that he will also will have a lower media profile.
Hayward has become a lightning rod because of his seeming insensitivity to the victims of the BP disaster and what from a distance at least comes across as a cold-fish personality that just rubs many people the wrong way.
BP's Managing Director, Robert Dudley, is picking up oil spill responsibilities, Svanberg said. The BP chair acknowledged that not much really matters until the gushing well is capped.
Svanberg also studiously didn't embrace Hayward when given a chance.
Asked directly: "Do you think Tony Hayward's doing a good job?" Svanberg didn't say yes.
Instead, he dodged the question, talking about how Hayward visited the U.S. soon after the April 20 explosion and how many BPers, including Hayward, thought the oil well would be quickly tamed. "It's been a difficult period," he said.