BP CEO Resigns Amid Review of Personal Relationships and Transparency Concerns
Posted 12/09/2023 23:58
Bernard Looney, the CEO of the oil giant BP, has stepped down from his role following an internal review of his personal relationships with colleagues. This marks the second time in two years that BP has conducted such an investigation.
The company announced Looney's resignation, effective immediately, and revealed that it had initiated an inquiry into alleged relationships between Looney and his coworkers. BP stated that Looney had confessed to not being "fully transparent" initially.
A company spokesperson emphasized BP's commitment to strong values and its expectation that all employees, especially leaders, adhere to these values and demonstrate good judgment that earns the trust of others.
Born in Ireland and raised on a farm, Looney had dedicated his career to BP, joining the company as an engineer in 1991. He became a member of its executive team in 2010 and took on the role of CEO in 2020.
Looney garnered a more public profile than his predecessors, even joining Instagram. His tenure coincided with significant challenges, including the pandemic-related drop in oil and gas demand and the war in Ukraine, which led to surging energy prices and BP's exit from Russia.
During his time as CEO, Looney had announced a plan to make BP a net-zero emissions company by 2050. However, environmental groups criticized him for scaling back the initial targets.
BP clarified that no decisions had been made regarding severance pay for Looney, who received over £10 million in pay and bonuses the previous year due to record profits driven by soaring oil prices.
In the interim, Chief Financial Officer Murray Auchincloss will serve as acting CEO.
Looney's departure comes amidst a series of high-profile executive dismissals in the UK related to personal behavior. Tony Danker, head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), was fired in April due to workplace behavior complaints. Additionally, Crispin Odey, founder of a hedge fund, stepped down in June following allegations of sexual harassment by 13 women, which he denied.
BP's initial review of Looney's relationships with colleagues in 2022 stemmed from an anonymous tip-off. At that time, Looney had disclosed "a small number of historical relationships with colleagues" prior to becoming CEO, and BP found no breaches of company conduct. However, similar allegations recently prompted another review, during which Looney acknowledged that he had not been fully transparent in his previous disclosures and had an obligation to provide more comprehensive information.