BP boss resigns after admitting he was not 'fully transparent' about relationships with colleagues

12 September 2023, 22:44

Bernard Looney has resigned with immediate effect
Bernard Looney has resigned with immediate effect. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

BP boss Bernard Looney has resigned with immediate effect after accepting he was not "fully transparent" about past relationships with colleagues.

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The Irishman, 53, took the role as chief executive of the oil giant in February 2020, pledging the company would become carbon neutral by the middle of the century.

He has now stepped down, and BP's chief financial officer Murray Auchincloss will take over the role on an interim basis.

It follows a review of Mr Looney's personal relationships with colleagues in May 2022 after allegations were made by an anonymous source, BP said.

In that review, no breach of BP's code of conduct was found, the company said, after Mr Looney disclosed a small number if historical relationships with colleagues before he came CEO.

Further allegations have since come to light, with Mr Looney now admitting he had not been fully transparent.

Bernard Looney
Bernard Looney. Picture: Getty

"He did not provide details of all relationships and accepts he was obligated to make more complete disclosure," a company statement read.

"The company has strong values and the board expects everyone at the company to behave in accordance with those values.

"All leaders in particular are expected to act as role models and to exercise good judgement in a way that earns the trust of others.

Mr Looney had pledged BP would aim to get to net zero by 2050 - the same target that was adopted by the UK Government.

Read More: Chief executive Bernard Looney resigns – BP statement in full

Read More: Shell and BP among firms accused of greenwashing over renewable energy

His announcement that the business would increase the amount it invests in low-carbon projects tenfold by 2030 to around five billion US dollars (£4 billion) a year gained praise from environmental group Greenpeace.

He also helped to navigate the firm through unpredictable periods such as the coronavirus pandemic and Russia's conflict with Ukraine, both of which impacted oil and gas prices.

BP tanker
BP tanker. Picture: Alamy

His departure is similar to that of former McDonald's chief executive officer Stephen Easterbrook, who in November 2019 was ousted from his role at the fast food giant for engaging in an inappropriate personal relationship with an employee in violation of company policy.

Earlier this year, Mr Easterbrook, from Watford in Hertfordshire, was charged by US federal regulators with making false and misleading statements to investors about the circumstances of his firing.

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