Make us your home page
Instagram

At BP's shareholder meeting, a major Florida investor votes 'no' to protest management failures

BP and Florida are starting to look like a dysfunctional married couple. One keeps saying "Trust me" while the other keeps asking for more money.

Not the most encouraging relationship.

This morning in London, BP holds its annual shareholders meeting. The gathering of BP execs and investors takes place less than a week before the one-year anniversary of the April 20 BP gulf oil spill. It's been a calamitous 12 months. BP's reputation is so tarnished, its shares are down 28 percent. And Florida is still tallying how badly and how long its economy will be hurt.

At BP's meeting, two large shareholders will vote against the energy company's management to protest BP's handling of the spill. One of those shareholders is the Florida State Board of Administration (SBA), which will also vote against the re-election to BP's board of four directors, including the head of BP's safety, ethics and environment assurance committee.

The Florida SBA oversees $156 billion in assets that include the state's public pension fund. Its stake in BP is worth about $240 million.

Florida's protest is in good company. Also voting against BP is Calpers (California's Public Employees' Retirement System), the nation's biggest public pension fund.

Florida SBA spokesman Dennis MacKee says usually the SBA won't comment on how it votes on resolutions.

With a major oil spill so close to home, this is different.

SBA adviser Glass, Lewis & Co. says BP directors should be held accountable for a "failure of management." The Florida SBA apparently agreed.

Of the compensation BP's thrown at Florida, much of it has gone directly to the Panhandle where the spill most directly hurt commercial fishing and tourism. Some BP money has gone to produce extra tourism ads saying, contrary to early misperceptions, Florida's beaches are not soaked in oil.

And plenty more money flows to BP's own public relations barrage of feel-good ads in newspapers, on TV and radio, and online via Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

"Soon a year will have passed since the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf," said one BP ad on Wednesday. "This was a tragedy that never should have happened. Our responsibility is to learn from it and share with competitors, partners, governments and regulators to help ensure that it never happens again."

BP's message? We're spending a ton of dough in Florida on the environment, seafood safety and economy. Trust us.

At this point, Florida's eager to keep squeezing BP for every penny. While BP's paid for a range of clean-up and claims costs, most of the big bucks remaining are in a multistate, $20 billion fund that BP raised through U.S. asset sales.

Earlier this week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced that BP will send a three-year, $30 million grant to promote tourism in seven Panhandle counties. Scott says he wants to hold BP accountable. Yet Scott has balked at suing BP for claims of up to $2.5 billion in lost sales and bed taxes, declines in property values and environmental damage.

That $30 million from BP is "chump change," complains Tampa attorney Steve Yerrid, who's pushing to sue. He was named oil spill counsel for the state by then-Gov. Charlie Crist but now his role under Scott is unclear.

How long will the BP-Florida marriage last? Until either the trust is gone or the wallet is empty.

Robert Trigaux can be reached at trigaux@sptimes.com.

At BP's shareholder meeting, a major Florida investor votes 'no' to protest management failures 04/13/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, April 13, 2011 10:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ratings service Nielsen begins tracking live TV consumption on Hulu, YouTube

    Retail

    TV ratings service Nielsen will begin tracking how many people watch network TV on YouTube and Hulu to gauge how many viewers broadcast networks have through streaming, the company announced Tuesday.

    Nielsen, a ratings company, is monitoring how many viewers watch live TV on Hulu and YouTube to get a better sense of overall viewership. | [AP]
  2. Allegiant Air strands 200 in Las Vegas, possibly for days

    Airlines

    What happened in Vegas will stay in Vegas — at least until Thursday for about 200 Allegiant Air passengers who were stranded Sunday when their flight to Oklahoma City was canceled.

    About 200 Allegiant Air passengers are stranded in Las Vegas, perhaps for days. Allegiant's headquarters, shown here, is located in the Las Vegas suburb of Summerlin, Nevada.
[JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]


  3. Cott Corp. sells beverage manufacturing business for $1.25 billion

    Business

    TAMPA — Cott Corp., a beverage manufacturer with headquarters in Tampa and Toronto, announced Tuesday it is selling its national beverage manufacturing business to Refresco for $1.25 billion.

    Cott Corp CEO Jerry Fowden
[Handout photo]
  4. Duke Energy Florida again ranks last in J.D. Power satisfaction survey

    Business

    ST. PETERSBURG — Another J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, another last place annual ranking for Duke Energy Florida.

    Duke Energy Florida president. Can he improve the utility's customer satisfaction ratings?
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Florida's jobless rate looks great — but 25 other state rates look even better

    Economic Development

    No debate here: Florida's unemployment rate continues to drop — even as more people move to Florida and enter the workforce. What's not to like?

    Who remembers the remarkable lines of hundreds of people looking for construction work in Tampa back in March of 2010 at a job fair at the Encore construction site near downtown Tampa? Now the construction industry is struggling to find skilled workers to meet building demand. [
JOHN PENDYGRAFT | TIMES]