Bernard Looney, the CEO of BP, leaves abruptly due to transparency problems

Bernard Looney, the CEO of BP, leaves abruptly due to transparency problems

After less than four years as the oil giant’s top executive, BP CEO Bernard Looney announced his resignation on Tuesday with immediate effect for failing to adequately disclose the specifics of prior personal ties with employees, the firm said.

According to the corporation, temporary CEO Murray Auchincloss will take over for the outgoing CEO.

In-depth details about Bernard Looney, the CEO of BP, leaves abruptly due to transparency problems

Looney, 53, took over as CEO in February 2020 with a promise to overhaul the 114-year-old business. He unveiled ambitious ambitions for the British energy behemoth, including spending billions on renewable and low-carbon energy sources and aiming for zero net emissions by 2050.

After recent charges of having personal ties with coworkers surfaced, the business opened an investigation, which led to Looney’s unexpected resignation.

That came after the board looked into comparable complaints in May 2022. Looney revealed “a few historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO” during that assessment.

At the time, there was no evidence of a violation of the company’s code of conduct, and Looney gave the board assurances “regarding disclosure of past personal relationships, as well as his future behavior.”

Looney resigned from BP on Tuesday after informing the company’s board that he had not disclosed all of his ties in detail.

Before the FT published Looney’s departure, BP shares in London ended up rising by 1%. Following the news, BP.N’s New York-listed shares dropped 1.5% to the day’s lows.

Auchincloss, 52, who took on the role of CFO in July 2020, has assisted Looney in guiding the business through some of the most turbulent years in recent history, including COVID-19, a quick withdrawal from Russia after that country invaded Ukraine last year, a shock to oil prices, and a crisis in the world’s standard of life.

Auchincloss, a Canadian citizen, began his work at Amoco as a financial analyst until BP bought the business in 1998. He has held a number of positions since then, including CFO of BP’s North American Gas business.

Earlier this year, BP reduced its ambitions to reduce hydrocarbon output by 2030 from 40% to 25% from 2019 levels. This is still the most drastic drop in oil and gas production among major oil firms this decade.

BP has had trouble persuading investors that its non-hydrocarbon divisions can generate profitable returns.

Shares of BP have underperformed over the past three years compared to rival Shell SHEL.L in Europe, as well as Chevron and Exxon Mobil in the United States.

BP’s second-quarter profit, which fell 70% from a year earlier to $2.6 billion after setting a record profit of $28 billion for 2022, still allowed the oil firm to raise its dividend by 10%.

It wasn’t apparent whether Looney’s departure would result in a change in tactics.

According to Morningstar analysts, “BP could theoretically roll back its transition plans further depending on the new CEO.”

But regardless of the declining stock price, if the board approves of the current course, they will probably hire someone to keep BP on it.

On the strength of the abundant earnings amid rising oil costs, Looney’s 2022 compensation package more than doubled to over $12 million, while BP’s emissions were largely constant from a year earlier.

It was stated by BP that “no decisions have yet been made in respect of any remuneration payments to be made” to Looney.

Bob Dudley, who had led BP through the Deepwater Horizon spill’s aftermath in 2010, was replaced by Looney.

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