Monday, April 4, 2011

TransOcean Execs Get Safety Bonuses for "Best Year" Ever!

Greed and stupidity sometimes seem to know no bounds.

TransOcean Ltd. just announced millions of dollars in bonuses to its executives based on the company's improved safety record last year...when 11 people were killed in the BP disaster. Calling it the “the best year in safety performance in our company’s history," the company announced the bonuses in its annual proxy statement released nearly one year after the April 20 explosion and collapse of the rig, which gushed crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 86 days.

Transocean built and provided the workers for the Deepwater Horizon, nine of whom died in the explosion. The rig was leased by BP, which denied most executives bonuses in 2010 following the explosion and clean-up.

Among those receiving the bonuses: Transocean President and Chief Executive Officer Steven L. Newman, who received about $4.3 million in cash bonuses and stock and option awards for 2010. All together, Newman earned $6.6 million in 2010, almost $1 million more than in 2009.

Oddly, the company withheld all executive bonuses in 2009 after incurring only four fatalities "to underscore the company's commitment to safety."

WHY? might be one of the questions that comes to mind. The answer, according to TransOcean:

"many of our senior executive officers… dedicated a significant portion of their time in 2010 following the [Deepwater Horizon explosion] to responding to the needs of the victims’ families, coordinating the involvement of additional resources required to stem the flow of hydrocarbons, including drilling rigs and personnel to drill relief wells and other operations as requested by the Unified Area Command, cooperating with the numerous federal, state, and local reviews and investigations into the incident, overseeing our internal investigation of the incident, and managing other demands stemming from these activities, in addition to performing their normal responsibilities."

In other words, because of the safety failures that led to the explosion, which killed nine of our employees, our executives had to work overtime to clean up the mess it caused. So we thought giving the executives a few extra million was only fair.

My words, not TransOcean's. Here's another word for this decision: disgusting.

-B

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