WASHINGTON — James Lee Witt, America’s go-to guy for disaster response, knows how to take an unpopular organization and turn it around. If BP hires the former Federal Emergency Management Agency director to help with community relations, it could further a makeover of the oil giant’s Gulf Coast image.
Last week, the company’s British CEO, Tony Hayward, stepped down from managing the day-to-day operations of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. Hayward handed off the job to managing director Bob Dudley, who grew up in Mississippi.
On Friday, BP and Witt’s company were still hammering out the details of a contract. Dudley told reporters he asked Witt to go down to New Orleans with him to get some feedback on the company’s response and what it could do in the future.