Safety, Corporate Bonuses and Big Lies

Wow. It appears that the execs at Transocean have had a change of heart — and conscience. In a required SEC filing last week, Transocean revealed that several of its top dogs would receive substantial bonuses for the company’s safety performance — despite being the operator of the rig that exploded in the Gulf, killing 11 workers.

I opined on this pathetic decision over the weekend, figuring it was an April Fools’ joke. But no. The board members who presumably considered and then approved the bonuses — and the execs themselves — were serious about giving and taking the money. And there were some serious bucks — and ethical issues — involved.

But wait.

Now the execs are saying they will donate the bonuses to a memorial fund organized for the victims of the explosion because “it is the right thing to do.”

Liar. Liar. Pants on fire.

Here’s the story from Politico, “Transocean execs to donate bonuses“:

Senior Transocean officials announced Tuesday that they will donate their much-lambasted safety bonuses to a memorial fund for the victims of last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

In a potential saving-grace move for the company, Transocean CEO Steven Newman and other senior officials are giving away more than $250,000 in bonuses granted for the company’s safety performance in 2010 despite being the operator of the Deepwater Horizon rig, which exploded April 20, killing 11 workers.

“The executive team made this decision because we believe it is the right thing to do,” Newman said in a statement. “Nothing is more important to Transocean than our people, and it was never our intent to diminish the effect the Macondo tragedy has had on those who lost loved ones.”

He added, “We offer our most sincere apologies and we regret the impact this matter has had on the entire Transocean family.”

The company’s bonuses — and even worse, its rationale — earned ridicule from Democrats and Republicans alike, including Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Senate Energy and Natural Resources ranking member Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.

“To suggest that it’s an exemplary safety record in view of what has happened in the past year and their involvement, I just think it’s inappropriate and just unfortunate,” Murkowski told POLITICO on Monday. “If I were Transocean and an executive there, I sure wouldn’t be suggesting that our safety record is exemplary but for our role with 11 deaths. Excuse me, that’s just not right.”

“That’s just not right.”

Clearly.

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