Transocean Is ‘Winning’

Charlie Sheen is "Winning!" even as tickets to his tour sell below face value.

Moammar Gaddafi is "Winning!" even though he isn't.

But this week's Chutzpah Awardfor seeing a completely empty glass as completely full goes to Transocean President and CEO Steven Newman, who has apparently earned a $200,000 raise and $374,000 bonus for 2010, a year Transocean calls its "best year in safety".

Smoke rises from a controlled burn May 19, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico.
Getty Images
Smoke rises from a controlled burn May 19, 2010, in the Gulf of Mexico.

Even though 11 people died in the Deepwater Horizon explosion which turned out to be the worst oil disaster in U.S. history.

Transocean (the world’s largest offshore rig company) made the statement about safety in an SEC filing, where it also detailed the executive raises doled out partly due to the firm's safety record.

"We acknowledge that some of the wording in our 2010 proxy statement may have been insensitive in light of the incident that claimed the lives of eleven exceptional men last year and we deeply regret any pain that it may have caused," the company told CNN. "Nothing in the proxy was intended to minimize this tragedy or diminish the impact it has had on those who lost loved ones."

Really!? Whoever wrote the filing wasn't trying to diminish the impact? It's as if the builder of the Hindenburg said, "Hey, we only lost one dirigible!" Or the shipping company behind the Titanic reported, "Other than one incident, our record was perfect, making 1912 our safest year ever!"

Here's how Transocean reportedly put it to the SEC. "Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life in the Gulf of Mexico, we achieved an exemplary statistical safety record as measured by our total recordable incident rate and total potential severity rate...As measured by these standards, we recorded the best year in safety performance in our company's history."


UPDATE: On Tuesday after the market close, Transocean released a statement saying senior executives awarded safety bonuses will voluntarily donate that moneyto the families of those who died in the Gulf incident. “The executive team made this decision because we believe it is the right thing to do,” said CEO Steven Newman. "We offer our most sincere apologies and we regret the impact this matter has had on the entire Transocean family.”

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