the Irish Bernard Looney has suddenly resigned as CEO of energy giant BP over “undeclared personal relationships with co-workers,” according to a company statement issued late Tuesday.
Looney, que took over BP in 2020 and captained the company during the pandemic with the loss of up to 10,000 jobs, remained at the helm during the Ukrainian war and closed in 2022 with a record profit of more than 26,000 million euros in the middle of the energy crisis. The replacement of his predecessor, Bob Dudleywas accompanied by BP’s pivot toward oil and gas prospecting, Looney’s specialty since he became an engineer in 1991.
Questioned about the salary difference (he received a bonus of 11.5 million euros last year and earned 170 times more than the average worker), BP opened a first internal investigation into his personal relationships at work after the “tip” of a employed in 2022.
The company opened a second investigation in recent months and has accused its former CEO of “lack of transparency” during the process, without going into more detail about his relations with employees. “The company has strong values and the board of directors expects them to be respected,” the statement read. “Leaders, in particular, must act as role models and earn the trust of others with sound judgment.”
The financial director Murray Auchincloss will temporarily take over the helm of BP until a successor is appointed in the coming weeks. Looney’s resignation occurs after a series of sex scandals in the British business classfrom the former director of the CBI employers’ association Tony Danker (who resigned in April) to the resignation of the financier Crispin Odeyhead of an investment fund in the City, reported for harassment by 13 women. Bernard Looney52, was married for the brief space of two years to the columnist and personal “coach” Jacqueline Hurst. They divorced in 2019, just before his promotion to BP chief executive after a decade on the board.