Bernard Looney, chief executive of BP since 2020, stepped down last night from the £10 million per year post, after confessing to inadequate candour with officials over his relations with staff at the supermajor.

Looney, a 30 year one-company man, had revealed to internal vetting officials four years ago the extent of his personal relationships with colleagues.

Today’s shock move, followed revelations last year on matters hitherto not known to the company’s personnel function.

In a statement issued after close of UK business yesterday, the company confirmed that Looney had admitted being not “fully transparent” when briefing HR staff 2018 about his conduct.

Looney celebrates his 53rd birthday this month. He joined BP as a drilling engineer in 1991.  He rose to its executive leadership in 2010, becoming head of oil and gas production before replacing Bob Dudley as CEO three years ago.

“(BP) has strong values and the board expects everyone at the company to behave in accordance with those values,” the company said in a statement.

“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.”

Murray Auchinloss, BP’s head of finance, will take over as interim CEO while Looney’s replacement is found.

BP said an anonymous tip-off in 2022 had launched prompted it at the time to launch a lawyer-backed a review of Mr Looney’s relationships with colleagues.

At that time Mr Looney reportedly gave assurances about disclosing past relationships, as well as his future behaviour.

But the board said it had received similar allegations “recently”, prompting another review.

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

BP’s share price initially dropped by 1.7% this morning, before recovering.

Looney’s last year of remuneration included a salary of £1.4m, a bonus of £2.4m – down fractionally on 2021 – and £6m in shares.   The total package was 120% more than the £4.5m he received in 2021.  BP said “no decisions have yet been made in respect of any remuneration payments to be made to Mr Looney”.

The company added that any decisions on payments made to Looney in respect of his resignation would be disclosed when its annual accounts and reports were published.


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