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BP denies £32M pay and shares from ex-CEO Bernard Looney over ‘serious misconduct’

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BP has officially ousted CEO Bernard Looney, citing "serious misconduct" related to his undisclosed personal relationships with colleagues. 

Looney, who resigned in September, faced allegations of failing to disclose these relationships to the board completely. 

BP's investigation concluded Looney knowingly misled the board when providing assurances about his past relationships and future conduct. 

Read More: BP picks executive search firm for CEO hunt after Looney’s removal

As a result, the company has terminated his one-year notice period immediately and will withhold over £32m in pay and share awards.

The financial penalties imposed on Looney include the forfeiture of £32,426,000, with nearly £25m tied to unvested performance share awards. 

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He will also lose more than £4.5m related to salary, pension allowance, and the maximum bonus award for the remaining notice period. 

Read More: BP Boss Bernard Looney Resigns After Probe Into Relationships

Looney's pay package had surged to £10m in 2022, doubling from £4.5m in 2021.

It includes a £1.4m salary, a £2.4m bonus, a £6m share award, and other benefits. 

This development marks a turbulent end to Looney's career at BP, which began in 1991. 

Initially a drilling engineer, he rose to head the company's upstream division in 2016, mentored by former BP boss John Browne.

Read More: BP asks US regulator to step in natural gas row

The controversy surrounding Looney's departure has raised questions about BP's future strategy. 

His plan to reduce oil and gas production by 2030 and transform BP into a net-zero energy company by 2050 had been a central focus. 

However, concerns have arisen over potential deviations from this strategy, particularly after Looney tempered his commitment to cutting production before his exit.

BP launched a probe in response to anonymous allegations in May 2022, revealing Looney's incomplete disclosures.

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Subsequent revelations prompted a more extensive investigation with external legal assistance. 

Looney admitted to the board that his previous disclosures were not comprehensive. 

Helge Lund, the BP chair, announced the commencement of the search for Looney's replacement in September.

While traditionally promoting CEOs from within, experts believe BP may consider external candidates.

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