AND FINALLY: Statoil boss puts foot firmly in (his horse’s) mouth

So, there you are – chief exec of a major global-scale oil company which is owned by the country which is home to the biggest sovereign wealth fund on the planet.

Your in-tray’s bulging with a choice of high-powered national and international lunch invites, speaking engagements and an Aladdin’s cave of investment opportunities.

Q: So what could possibly go wrong?

A: Simples – see ‘Consignia’*

Just decide to come up with some touchy-feely, focus-group generated, ‘apple-pie and motherhood’ new name. Then watch it implode.

This is the future facing Eldar Saetre, the otherwise level-headed chief executive of Statoil, who has proposed that Norway’s  majority state-owned oil company change its name to Equinor – at the bargain price of $30 million.

He said the planned name-change to Equinor will reflect the corporation’s commitment to become a ‘broad energy company rather than one focused only on oil’ (It also operates an offshore wind farm in Scotland)

This proposal is yet to be ratified at the company’s annual meeting, but already Equinor has bombed on social media and among other key stakeholders, with one Twitter user saying:

“’Equinor’ sounds like a princess on a horse in Game of Thrones.”  

“Equi” is the genitive singular in Latin for “horse”.

And the local newspaper – the Stavanger Aftenblad – where Statoil is based in Norway ran a straw poll asking readers whether they liked the name change, with 4,730 people saying “no” and 809 saying “yes”…

** Plan by the British Post Office to change its name to ‘Consignia’? See; http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2002480.stm 

19 Mar 2018

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