CEO Reputation, Response Weigh Heavily in BP and Massey Crises


It all starts at the top. No matter how well rehearsed your crisis communications plan is, success in any crisis is still dependent on your “communicator in chief,” otherwise known as the CEO. This truth is particularly evident when comparing Massey Energy’s handling of the Upper Big Branch Mine tragedy and BP’s handling of the Gulf Coast rig explosion and pending environmental disaster. Massey is facing federal investigations and potential criminal charges in the aftermath of its crisis. During the crisis itself, virtually every media outlet brought up the company’s poor record in the past, and cited numerous safety violations in their coverage.

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