June 21, 2010

Is 15 Minutes of Fame Approaching for BP Ombuds?

Stanley Sporkin, BP's Ombuds, is drawing increased attention as politicians and journalists probe the oil giant's safety record. Recent revelations include the following.

  • BP employees in Alaska have raised a list of safety concerns that could endanger Prudhoe Bay. In a letter to BP Alaska President John Minge earlier this year, BP's Sporkin said his office has been "engaged in oversight of the overtime and staffing issues that continue to be raised by employees." (Truthout.)
  • Jeanne Pascal, a former attorney at the Environmental Protection Agency, revealed her role in the creation of the BP Ombuds program. She said that BP opposed the appointment of Sporkin and wanted an insider in the role. Pascal said that the issue of keeping Sporkin as ombudsman for the workers was important to her because she recognized that BP was a “retaliatory company.” (Corporate Crime Reporter.)
  • U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, said BP Chairman and President Lamar McKay wanted to shut down the Ombuds office by improving the corporate culture enough to make the Ombuds unnecessary. Stupak said that he urged McKay not to eliminate the office because it serves a significant role in investigating employee complaints. (Stupak Statement.)
Meanwhile, Sporkin will be a featured speaker at the September conference of the Corporate Executive Board Company, a commercial firm that provides best practices research and analysis to business executives. Sporkin and former Chairman and President of BP America, Bob Malone will offer insights into how the company handled crises in the past and created the Ombuds program. (CEB Views.)

Update 6/23/10: Progressive blogger Stephen Lendman profiles Sporkin and calls him "BP's Fixer." (Baltimore Chronicle.)

1 comment:

  1. The current situation at BP in the Gulf also demands a look at how an executive Ombudsman program could well serve the community, the persons impacted economically, and the corporation. At each turn we hear about delays, clean up projects not receiving promised implementations funds, etc. In all of this there lurks the opportunity for BP to salvage some institutional credibility by instituting an Ombudsman program to quickly deal with these issues, and to also be able to reduce its exposure to litigation.