Boss of BP steps down — Bernard Looney leaves top job

Boss of BP steps down — Bernard Looney leaves top job

Kenmare man Bernard Looney, CEO of BP, has resigned from the top job at the global energy giant

Bernard Looney (picture by Hollie Adams:Bloomberg via Getty Images)

IN A seismic move that has shocked the business world, BP plc has announced that Bernard Looney has resigned with immediate effect.

In an official statement, the company said: “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. The information came from an anonymous source.

“During that review, Mr Looney disclosed a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO. No breach of the Company’s Code of Conduct was found. However, the board sought and was given assurances by Mr Looney regarding disclosure of past personal relationships, as well as his future behaviour.

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

The statement went on to confirm that Looney had stepped down.

“Mr Looney has today informed the company that he now accepts that he was not fully transparent in his previous disclosures. He did not provide details of all relationships and accepts he was obligated to make more complete disclosure.”

The statement on the BP website said that 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.”

The statement confirmed that no decisions have yet been made “in respect of any remuneration payments to be made to Mr Looney”.

Bernard Looney was born near Kenmare, Co. Kerry, and brought up on a dairy farm. One of his brothers is a garda officer, another a telecoms engineer, while his sister is in banking.

Until last week, Looney was probably the highest paid employee within the Irish in Britain community. Last year, including share options, he earned close to £10million. He was known as one of the most radical CEOs in Britain, and had announced his aims of making BP a net zero comapn within decades.

Looney has worked of BP all his working life, after graduating from UCD. He soon rose through the ranks after joining as a drill engineer in 1991 to become CEO in 2020. He steered the company through turbulent times, which included rising oil prices because of the Ukraine war, and criticisms from environmentalists over BP’s huge profits while not doing enough to combat climate change.

Murray Auchincloss, the Company’s CFO, will act as CEO on an interim basis.

Looney’s dismissal comes amidst other high profile dismissals of executives in Britain.

Belfast-born Tony Danker, boss of Britain’s largest business lobby group the CBI, was dismissed in April of this year. In a statement the CBI announced that he had been fired because his conduct had "fallen short of that expected of the director general". Danker claimed that he had been made the scapegoat for a wider crisis at the CBI.