Last weekend, Care2 reported that Transocean Ltd. congratulated its executives for “the best year in safety performance in our company’s history,” by dolling out millions in cash bonuses and stock options.
For his commitment to safety, Transocean President and Chief Executive Officer Steven L. Newman received about $4.3 million in cash bonuses and stock and option awards. His base salary, $900,000 in 2010, will increase 22 percent to $1.1 million in 2011 (Forbes).
By contrast, the company withheld all executive bonuses for 2009 after incurring just four fatalities that year.
U.S. Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar and other government officials criticized this calloused action, which seemed to ignore the explosion and sinking of Transocean’s Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig, which killed 11 people and gushed crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico for 86 days last summer.
Embarassed by the public outcry against their awards, five Transocean senior executives will donate $250,000 — slightly more than a quarter of their overall bonuses — to a fund set up for the victims, the company said (Wall Street Journal).
“The executive team made this decision because we believe it is the right thing to do,” Newman said in a press release. “Nothing is more important to Transocean than our people, and it was never our intent to diminish the effect the Macondo tragedy has had on those who lost loved ones,” Newman said. “We offer our most sincere apologies and we regret the impact this matter has had on the entire Transocean family.”
No, Mr. Newman: the right thing to do is admit that your company’s ‘lack of a safety culture‘ resulted in the worst environmental disaster in American history, poisoning the Gulf of Mexico for the forseeable future, and threatening the lives of the millions of people and animals that depend on it.
But I suppose that admission would probably have a negative impact on the entire Transocean family, so I won’t hold my breath.
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