Perfidious – deliberately faithless, treacherous, deceitful. Of, relating to, or marked by perfidy. Synonyms: false, disloyal, unfaithful, traitorous, faithless.
Perfidious is the word that leaped to my mind when I read this opening paragraph in a post on the Fast Company web site:
“There’s no question that BP has lied extensively over the past few months about the growing Gulf oil disaster. The company has bullied journalists, fudged numbers, and even deployed fake journalists to the Gulf to write about how everything is fine. Now BP may be literally trying to cover up oiled beaches by dumping sand on top of them.”
Over the weekend, the Financial Times (FT) and CNN were reporting that BP is bracing for a shake-up at the top, with both the Chairman and the CEO expected to be replaced within weeks.
However, unbelievably, the CNN story reports that the Chairman is being “singled out for criticism by shareholders for his perceived lack of decisive leadership during the crisis and his failure to support Tony Hayward, the embattled chief executive.”
I guess these shareholders have their heads stuck in the same sand that BP apparently is using to cover up the oil-stained beaches in Louisiana.
Mr. Hayward’s performance before the U.S. Congress, in which he tried to handball blame for this disaster to BP’s subcontractors, did nothing to enhance trust in the BP brand or its leadership. Neither did early reports that soon after this disaster BP was offering US$5000 payments to residents affected by the oil spill if they waived their rights to sue for any damages.
The high-powered institutional investors in the UK that own the majority of the BP shares apparently do not have a clue about Corporate Image Management and the impact of the corporate image on share prices.
Both these investors and the BP Board need to understand this finding from the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report Reputation Assurance: The Value of a Good Name:
A single-minded focus that seeks only to satisfy shareholders may ultimately lead to crises and erosion of shareholder value.
Looks like an updated definition of the word perfidious might need to include “can lead to crises and erosion of shareholder value.”