Tony Hayward Cancels a Keynote Appearance

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BP CEO Tony Hayward

Benjamin J. Myers/Corbis

Perhaps the message would be somewhat mixed.

BP chief executive Tony Hayward was scheduled to deliver the 2010 keynote speech at the World National Oil Companies Congress in London on Tuesday, focusing on the global responsibilities of the participating firms. But the AP reports that Hayward, perhaps appreciative of the irony, will not attend the event, citing his commitment to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill cleanup as a larger priority. BP’s chief of staff, Steve Westwell, will replace Hayward at the oil conference.

Hayward’s decision comes as anger remains regarding his weekend getaway to witness his yacht compete in a race. The Washington Post notes that White House spokesman Bill Burton was still riffing on that trip at Monday’s daily meeting.

“Tony Hayward, I guess, took himself at his word that he was going to get his life back here.” Burton told the Post. “It’s clear that he has.”

With spill costs reaching $2 billion, there’s no telling how long it will be before the criticism of BP fully sets sail.