BP CEO Bernard Looney Resigns Amid Admission of Lack of Transparency in Personal Relationships

London, United Kingdom — BP CEO Bernard Looney has tendered his resignation following an acknowledgment of not being "fully transparent" regarding "historical relationships with colleagues," according to a statement released by the oil giant on Tuesday.

Murray Auchincloss, the company's CFO, will assume the role of interim CEO in the wake of Looney's departure.

"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," the statement noted. During the review, Looney disclosed "a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO," with no breaches found in the company's code of conduct.

Subsequently, BP disclosed that it had recently received additional allegations of a similar nature, prompting an ongoing investigation.

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

Looney, aged 53, served nearly four years as the head of BP and commenced his career with the London-based oil and gas company in 1991 at the age of 21. During his tenure, he led BP's efforts to transition into an integrated energy company with a strong focus on emissions reduction.

Shares of BP's stock closed 1.3% lower on Tuesday in response to the news.

Looney's ambitious plans included achieving zero net emissions by 2050 and significant investments in renewable energy. Under his leadership, BP became the sole major oil company to set goals for reducing oil and gas production in this decade, a decision that didn't sit well with some shareholders and led to BP's stock trailing competitors like Shell, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil.

Recently, Looney adjusted some of these goals and increased investments in crude oil and natural gas.

While BP missed profit expectations in the last quarter, it raised its dividend by 10% and announced plans to buy back $1.5 billion in shares. Year-to-date, the company's stock has seen an increase of approximately 12.6%.

Looney's journey to the top of BP is marked by a humble beginning on a small dairy farm near Kenmare, Ireland. He was the first in his family to attend college, ultimately earning a degree in business from Stanford after studying electrical engineering in Dublin.

His career at BP began as a drilling engineer, and he was overseeing the company's North Sea operations during the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico, a catastrophe that resulted in substantial penalties for BP and the largest-ever US oil spill. Looney played a critical role in the response efforts, spending 60 days in Houston to cap the well and mitigate the environmental impact, a period he described as the most challenging of his career.