BP has found it has too many men speaking for it nationally and will now use its local BP Barbie approach nationwide. “BP Barbie” is my description for the various female community liaisons hired by the oil giant to deflect criticism and avoid answering any difficult questions.
Instead of promoting our favorite BP Barbie, Liz Castor, who told the Pensacola City Council that she is the national director of civic affairs, BP has hired Anne Kolton, a former head of public affairs of the Department of Energy under the Bush Administration.
According to Reuters, “BP’s media team has been overwhelmed by press and public attention since the Deepwater Horizon rig… exploded and sank in April, killing 11 workers and unleashing what has become the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The company has flown in staff from London to help deal with media requests, but has also been forced to put its media hotline on voicemail to process the many calls — some abusive — that come in.”
In other words, BP realizes the male faces of Tony Hayward and Doug Suttles are no longer having a positive impact and they need a fresh, female spokesman.
Kolton, age 34, is a vice president of APCO Worldwide, a communication consulting firm with offices in major cities throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., APCO clients include corporations and governments; industry associations and nonprofit organizations; and seven of the top 10 companies on Fortune’s Global 500, according to its website.
Prior to being in hired in 2009 by APCO, Kolton was a director of the Brunswick Group, which has also been hired to help with PR.
In the Bush Administration, Kolton also served as director of public affairs at the Department of the Treasury and senior advisor to Chairman William H. Donaldson at the Securities and Exchange Commission. She joined the Bush administration as assistant press secretary in the White House press office after serving on the Bush campaign in the press operation. Before joining the campaign, Kolton was the Washington liaison for Texas Attorney General John Cornyn.
Before serving DOE, Kolton took a leave of absence from Bush Administration to serve as Vice President Dick Cheney’s Campaign Press Secretary as part of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign.
I found this Washington Post article that describes how Kolton met daily with then Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman. She is definitely a political insider who saw how the Bush/Cheney energy policies set the stage for the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
The Post article, published August 9, 2005, describes her: “Kolton , 29, is Bodman’s top communications adviser and accompanies him on major trips. Kolton, hired in February, worked with Bodman at the Treasury Department, where she served as director of public affairs. Kolton has strong administration ties, having worked on both the 2000 and 2004 Bush campaigns. She joined the Bush administration in 2001 as an assistant press secretary at the White House.”