LONDON—Tony Hayward, the departing chief executive of BP PLC, is unrepentant about how the energy giant responded to the U.S.’s largest offshore oil spill.
In his first interview after agreeing to step down from the top spot this week, Mr. Hayward said he did everything possible once the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and sank in the Gulf of Mexico, by taking responsibility for the spill, and spending billions of dollars to stop the spewing oil and clean up the shoreline.
At the onset more than three months ago, Mr. Hayward was attacked for saying BP could contain the spill and prevent an environmental disaster. That, plus a series of other missteps and failed efforts to stop the runaway well, made Mr. Hayward a toxic symbol in the U.S. for the unfolding mess.
“I became a villain for doing the right thing,” Mr. Hayward said in the interview. “But I understand that people find it easier to vilify an individual more than a company.” He said he feels some of his comments, particularly “I’d like my life back,” were “wrong.”