Andrew Hill

One common public perception of business – as I blogged earlier this week – is that the bigger it is, the worse it is. I was interested, therefore, to read in The Times on Friday that Britain’s top 50 businesses are to get a “hotline” to senior ministers. The paper writes (subscription required):

Bosses of companies, including BP and GlaxoSmithKline, will be able to telephone directly to the top of Whitehall departments in new individually tailored relationships with senior ministers who will act as their “buddies”.

 Read more

John Gapper

It is no disrespect to Bob Dudley, the American who is about to become chief executive of BP, to note that were he British – or any other nationality – he probably would not be getting the job.

There is now a distinct possibility that BP will soon have not only an American chief executive but an American chairman too. Paul Anderson, a BP board member, has been mentioned as a possible successor to Carl-Henric Svanberg as non-executive chairman.

Mr Anderson, a former chief executive of both BHP Billiton and Duke Energy, was in the running to become BP chairman last year. As things turned out, it might have been useful to have him around. Read more

John Gapper

Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive, has had a long and painful morning at the House of Representatives energy and commerce committee but he can thank Joe Barton, a Republican member of the committee, for seizing the spotlight.

Mr Barton’s comment that the government had subjected BP to a “$20bn shakedown” drew a rapid response from the White House, which called for Republicans and Democrats to repudiate it. It clearly believes it can win any political tussle over the escrow fund for compensation. Read more

John Gapper

Oh dear. Language can be so tricky.

Carl-Henric Svanberg, the BP chairman, whipped up yet more trouble for the company following his meeting with President Obama on Wednesday, by saying the followingRead more

John Gapper

It did not take long for the strained unity of BP, Transocean and Halliburton to break down as oil continues to gush into the Gulf of Mexico.

I wrote in my column last week that BP did not appear to have been being obviously reckless in the way it used contractors to drill for oil before the disaster: Read more