BP, Or Not To Be: Aegis' Napier Raises Some Questions

There will likely be some interesting boardroom conversations taking place at London-based agency holding company Aegis Group following Chairman John Napier’s comments Thursday on the U.S. government’s scrutiny of British petroleum giant, and environmental SNAFU artist BP’s efforts to stop the oil leak and clean up the mess it’s making of marine life surrounding U.S. shores. Napier, who until the recent promotion of Jerry Buhlmann, had also been Aegis’ acting CEO, is also chairman of Britain’s RSA Insurance Group, and acting in that capacity, has taken a very public stance criticizing the Obama Administration’s comments about BP’s efforts to date.

In an open letter to President Barak Obama published on U.K. Sky News’ Web site (http://msnbcmedia.msn.com/i/CNBC/Sections/News_And_Analysis/__Story_Inserts/pdf/N apier_John_letter.pdf), Napier asserts that the U.S. government is exhibiting a “case of double standards.”

“There is a sense here that these attacks are being made because BP is British,” he wrote. “If you compare the damage inflicted on the economies of the Western world by polluted securities from the irresponsible, unchecked greed and avarice of leading USA international banks, there has not been the same personalized response in or from countries beyond the U.S.”

And let’s not forget the fact that it was U.S. citizens – er, well pre-U.S. citizens – who first began fouling America’s waters, when they dumped boatloads of tea in Boston Harbor back in 1773 (no, not that Tea Party," the other one). Which, when you think about it, may be where this whole mess began in the first place.

Meanwhile, we’re kind of curious about how other top Aegis execs might feel about Napier’s position – particularly Aegis Media North America CEO Nigel Morris, a Brit who is also known to be a strong environmental advocate.

Photo of John Napier, Non-executive Director

Aegis Chairman John Napier

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