Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2010

Tony Hayward

Highs: Prior to the Deepwater Horizon rig exploding in the Gulf of Mexico, leading to three agonizing months of hemorrhaged oil, Hayward (formerly a geologist and a man who worked his way up the ranks of the BP ladder) led the third largest oil company in the world. BP had sales of $239 billion in 2009 and 80,000 employees worldwide. Reports said that Hayward walked away with $17 million in pension and severance.

Lows: BP's shares lost close to half of their value following the massive leak. The mere mention of the company's name became synonymous with environmental disaster and mismanagement. Hayward was pilloried for inaction, a lack of oversight and personal ambivalence about the spill (see his "I'd like my life back" remark and his participation in a yacht race on Day 61 of the spill, which at the time showed no signs of slowing.) On July 26, Hayward resigned, an estimated 206 million gallons of oil later and about a week and a half after the leak was finally plugged.

Josh Sanburn