BP CEO Resigns Amid Probe into Past Relationships With Colleagues

Bernard Looney filed his resignation with immediate effect.

BP PLC said Tuesday chief executive officer (CEO) Bernard Looney had tendered his resignation with immediate effect, revealing a company investigation is underway over his personal relationships with colleagues.

Chief financial officer Murray Auchincloss takes over on an interim basis, the British energy giant said in a press release.

“In May 2022, the Board received and reviewed allegations, with the support of external legal counsel, relating to Mr Looney’s conduct in respect of personal relationships with company colleagues”, it said. “The information came from an anonymous source”.

Looney during the review “disclosed a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO”. While BP found no breach of its code of conduct during the review, Looney on Tuesday told the company he had not been fully transparent during the review, according to the news release.

“He did not provide details of all relationships and accepts he was obligated to make more complete disclosure”, the announcement stated.

“Further allegations of a similar nature were received recently, and the Company immediately began investigating with the support of external legal counsel”, it said “That process is ongoing”.

“The Company has strong values and the Board expects everyone at the Company to behave in accordance with those values”, BP added. “All leaders in particular are expected to act as role models and to exercise good judgment in a way that earns the trust of others”.

Looney, who was at the helm of BP’s upstream business when Aker BP ASA was formed 2016, had replaced Bob Dudley as CEO after the latter’s retirement March 2020. In the nearly four years of Looney’s term as CEO, BP sailed through a pandemic and a war-induced energy crisis.

Before becoming CEO, Looney had run BP’s upstream business since April 2016 and had been a member of the executive management since November 2010, according to a profile statement published by BP October 4, 2019, when it announced Dudley’s retirement.

He had led BP’s foray into new countries including Mauritania and Senegal before gaining the top job, according to the bio release.

“During his tenure, process and personal safety performance has improved by 35 percent and 20 percent respectively and production has grown by 20 percent, driven largely by 23 major project start-ups – delivered ahead of schedule and under budget”, the bio release stated.

“Bernard has encouraged BP to lead the industry on methane detection methods as well as driving sustainable emissions reductions of almost 3 million tons CO2 [carbon dioxide] equivalent in the past two years”, it added.

The 2019 profile statement also noted, “Under his leadership, Bernard has made significant improvements in both gender and global diversity, with his top regional leadership team now being one-third women and one-third from outside the US/UK”.

BP said the announcement of Looney’s resignation contained inside information in compliance with domestic law.

“No decisions have yet been made in respect of any remuneration payments to be made to Mr Looney”, the announcement noted.


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