NEW YORK - So far, BP chief executive officer Tony Hayward has failed in his efforts to stop people from losing faith - or money - in his company.
BP's inability to contain the worst oil spill in U.S. history has focused attention on Hayward's words and deeds over the last six weeks - and the scrutiny has not yielded a flattering image. Some examples:
Three weeks into the spill, Hayward told reporters the amount of oil was relatively small given the Gulf of Mexico's size. The U.S. government estimates 22 million to 47 million gallons of oil has spewed into the gulf, dwarfing the 11 million from the Exxon Valdez.
Last weekend, Hayward angered gulf residents when he said to reporters, "I'd like my life back." He later apologized.
He also acknowledged that BP had not been prepared for a blowout on the seafloor. "We did not have the tools you would want in your tool kit," he told the Financial Times. He promised BP would clean up every drop of oil and "restore the shoreline to its original state."
On Friday, Hayward apologized for the gulf disaster on a conference call with shareholders, who since the April 20 explosion have lost more than $70 billion - and counting.
Hayward acknowledged that he has become a lightning rod for criticism. He says that allows his lieutenants to go about their work.
"I'm so far unscathed," he told analysts. "No one has actually physically harmed me. They've thrown some words at me. But I'm a Brit, so sticks and stones can hurt your bones, but words never break them, or whatever the expression is."
BP board chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg told investors he supported Hayward and his staff.
Nevertheless, Hayward's misstatements since the explosion that killed 11 people have not helped his case with the general public - and investors have been fleeing BP's stock.
"There's an awful lot of pressure mounting up," said Chris Skrebowski, director of Peak Oil Consulting.
The spill has cost BP more than $1 billion so far. Analysts say the final bill could be 10 to 20 times that amount in fines, lawsuits, and years of cleanup. A huge toll - but not enough to sink BP, which earned $16 billion last year.
It would be surprising if Hayward were ousted while the company is still trying to plug the well, analysts said, because any executive that took over would run into the same difficulties Hayward faces. Afterward, all bets are off.
"He'll be given the benefit of the doubt, but not for very long," Skrebowski said.