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BP boss Bernard Looney resigns after probe into relationships

Former BP boss Bernard Looney

Former BP boss Bernard Looney

Bernard Looney, the CEO of oil giant BP, has unexpectedly quit after an internal review of his personal relationships with colleagues. 

The review marks the second probe into his relationships within the past two years.

BP disclosed that Mr. Looney had admitted to not initially being “fully transparent” regarding these relationships. 

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A spokesman said: “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.”

Nick Butler, a former head of strategy at BP, told the BBC’s Today programme that there was “shock” about Mr Looney’s exit.

“BP is a company where the leadership is crucial and Bernard provided a lot of that. We’ll have to see if his successor can achieve even more than he did.”

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Shareholders are now awaiting the appointment of BP’s next CEO, with analysts emphasizing the need for a swift and clear succession plan.

Bernard Looney, who hails from Ireland, has spent his entire career at BP.

He joined as a drilling engineer in 1991 and became a member of the executive team in 2010. 

He took over as CEO from Bob Dudley, adopting a more approachable image as the company’s leader.

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He actively engaged on social media platforms like Instagram to discuss industry-related concerns.

During his tenure, Mr. Looney faced significant challenges, including navigating the impact of the pandemic, which led to plans to cut 10,000 jobs. 

The start of the Ukraine war in 2022 prompted BP to exit Russia under UK government pressure.

Mr. Looney had previously outlined BP’s goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

However, he faced criticism from environmental groups for revising initial targets. 

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Last year, he received over £10 million in pay and bonuses, over 170 times the average BP employee’s earnings.

It was since the company’s profits soared due to rising oil prices.

BP said it hasn’t made any decisions regarding severance pay for Mr. Looney, and CFO Murray Auchincloss will serve as interim CEO. 

There is no guarantee that Auchincloss will assume the role permanently.

He has been a central figure in the management team working toward BP’s net-zero goals.

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Mr. Looney’s resignation follows a series of high-profile executive dismissals in the UK.

It has focused attention on executive personal behavior and corporate governance. 

This move comes after BP initiated a review of Mr. Looney’s relationships with colleagues following an anonymous tip-off in 2022.

He disclosed some historical relationships with colleagues, but no breach of company conduct was found. 

However, recent similar allegations prompted a new review, leading to Mr. Looney’s admission of not providing full disclosure as required.

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