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BP CEO Bernard Looney resigns over past relationships with colleagues

LONDON – BP, the London-based oil giant, said on Tuesday that its chief executive Bernard Looney had resigned, after acknowledging that he had not been “fully transparent” in disclosing his past personal relationships with colleagues.

In a 2022 investigation, Mr Looney acknowledged “a small number of historical relationships with colleagues” before becoming CEO two years earlier, and BP concluded that he had not breached its code of conduct, the company said.

But the company said it had recently received information that prompted another investigation, leading to Mr Looney’s decision to resign.

“He did not provide details of all relationships and accepts he was obligated to make more complete disclosure,” BP said. It did not elaborate on the relationships.

The company said Mr Murray Auchincloss, the chief financial officer, would replace Mr Looney on an interim basis.

Mr Looney, 53, led a shake-up at the company, where he spent his career. He replaced senior executives with outsiders and, in response to climate concerns, began to gradually reduce exploration and production of oil and natural gas, in favour of lower-carbon energy like offshore wind and biogas, as well as large charging networks for electric vehicles.

This year, however, Mr Looney said BP would trim fossil-fuel output more slowly than previously announced. The move was well received by financial markets because of the company’s profits from oil and gas, but it was criticised by environmental groups.

Mr Looney, who is Irish, joined BP in 1991 as a drilling engineer and worked in the North Sea, Vietnam and the Gulf of Mexico, including on the Thunder Horse field, a high-profile project. He also worked as an executive assistant to two previous CEOs, Mr Tony Hayward and Mr John Browne.

For nearly four years before becoming CEO, Mr Looney had headed BP’s upstream business, which explores for oil and gas and extracts it for sale to world markets, and had secured deals to sell the company’s long-held oil fields in Alaska for US$5.6 billion (S$7.6 billion) and to acquire the United States shale drilling assets of BHP Billiton. NYTIMES

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