Business Diary: The man who read BP's smoke signals

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The Independent Online

May we be the first to commend Parker Griffith, the Republicancongressman for Arkansas, for his prescience. During the BPcongressional hearings in the summer, Griffith urged restraint as the outcry reached fever pitch, reminding colleagues "that the greatest environmental disaster in American has been cigarettes". Now it turns out that the Deep-water Horizon accident might have been averted had a rig worker not stepped away from his post in order to have a quick smoke.



Hayward tops a poll at last

Still on the oil major, is this a rare bit of good news for Tony Hayward, the BP boss who lost his job over the Gulf of Mexico accident? A Thomson Reuters survey reveals he's been the most high-profile FTSE 100 chief executive of 2010, featuring in no less than 1,931 national newspaper articles, four times as many as in 2009. To put that in perspective, the average Footsie has had just 151 mentions this year. Still, in this case the adage about all publicity being good publicity really doesn't apply. We're guessing Mr Hayward would have settled for a lower profile this year.



A terrifying way to do business

One man who definitely does buy the all publicity idea is the American who has just been arrested by the FBI. The gentleman in question, who runs a business selling spectacles, hit on a novel idea for climbing up Google's search engine rankings: he threatened customers, scaring one witless by sending her a picture of her own front door. When they complained about him online, his profile was boosted and his Google ranking soared. The New York Times reports the search engine has now made some adjustments to the way its rankings are calculated.



An open goal for Sainsbury's?

It's good to see the stock market buzzing once more with gossip that the Qatar Investment Authority might have another tilt at Sainsbury's. If a bid does materialise, there will no doubt be a concerted campaign to prevent another British company falling to a foreign buyer. Still, on the plus side, at least Sainsbury's might have a crack at being an official World Cup sponsor in 2022. At least some Britons might benefit from Fifa's curious decisions.

businessdiary@independent.co.uk

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