May 15, 2017

Yeah, right, a name change will fix BHP’s problems …

BHP Billiton is going to change its name to repair its reputation with the community. We can think of some better ways than changing the letterhead.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

BHP Billiton changes name

You know a company is in trouble when it decides to change its name. Something has gone wrong when the money spent assiduously building up a brand over many years is junked. For example, the brand of the pack of murderous mercenaries known as Blackwater was so tarnished by the slaughter of Iraqi civilians, arms smuggling and what one judge called “demonstrated systemic disregard for U.S. Government laws and regulations” that it changed its name not once by twice. Tobacco company Philip Morris changed its name to Altria to get away from all that cancer and systemic, decades-long denialism stuff. US airline ValuJet, which flew unsafe planes and killed scores of people in a DC-9 crash, took a new name from a subsidiary to escape the brand damage. Locally, Transfield changed its name to Broadspectrum to escape links with the prison camps it helps the Department of Immigration to operate on Nauru and Manus Island.

Sensing a pattern?

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7 thoughts on “Yeah, right, a name change will fix BHP’s problems …

  1. paddy

    LOL Damn it Bernard, you should charge BHP for that advice.
    If their management had half a brain, they’d give you a gig on the board.

  2. K

    Funnily enough, I was chatting to someone who works at BHPB just last week about the company name and how everyone still just calls it BHP. He made the point that there are almost no former Billiton assets of value left in the company. They have either been wound up, written off/down or packaged up into South 32 (or “Crap Co” as the market dubbed it when BHP foolishly announced the split without a name). So shortening it to just BHP is probably apt.

  3. Dog's Breakfast

    Stop being dicks!
    Halve the pay packets of your executive
    Start training Australian kids in jobs that you need done instead of shipping in 1000’s under bogus visas
    Be a good corporate citizen, and thank Australians for allowing you to take their precious resources for your short term gains.

  4. Mike Smith

    Changing the name without changing your behaviour will just leave you with another toxic name in five years or so.

  5. AR

    There was once a time when ugly corporate behaviour was celebrated – Rio Tinto was so named because its mining operations in Spain had turned the nearby river bright red with pollution but that was back when the term “ugly face of capitalism” had not yet been invented by Ted Heath due to some exceptionally nasty behaviour of Tiny Rowland in UDI Rhodesia.

  6. Ken M

    Employees should be happier with a shorter brand, brands themselves are very painful and burn a lot. Although, I suppose existing employees will now need to get the new brand and may not be happy about that – ouch.

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