New York – December 13, 2023
Bernard Looney, the former CEO of BP, is relinquishing approximately $40 million in severance following allegations of “serious misconduct” related to his failure to fully disclose personal relationships with company employees, ultimately leading to his dismissal.
In a statement released on Wednesday, BP revealed, “Following careful consideration, the board has concluded that, in providing inaccurate and incomplete assurances in July 2022, Mr. Looney knowingly misled the board. The board has determined that this amounts to serious misconduct, and as such, Mr. Looney has been dismissed without notice, effective on December 13.”
Looney stepped down in September, acknowledging a lack of “complete transparency” regarding his “past interactions with colleagues.”In May 2022, an examination of claims related to Looney’s interactions with fellow company members was launched by BP’s board, assisted by external legal advisors.
These allegations, originating from an undisclosed individual, prompted the inquiry. Throughout the investigation, Looney acknowledged “a limited number of past connections with colleagues before assuming the role of CEO,” yet no violation of the company’s code of conduct was found during that period.
As a result of the misconduct determination, BP announced that Looney would receive no further salary, pension allowance, or benefits. Additionally, he will forfeit his 2023 annual bonus and is required to repay half of the cash portion of his 2022 annual bonus.
At 53 years old, Looney served as the head of BP for nearly four years, commencing his career at the “London-based oil and Gas Company” in 1991 at the young age of 21. Throughout his tenure, he climbed the ranks to become the CEO in July 2020, leading initiatives to transform BP into an integrated “energy company” with a primary emphasis on emission reduction.
With Looney’s departure, Murray Auchincloss, the company’s Chief Financial Officer, assumes the role of BP’s CEO on an interim basis. The scandal surrounding Looney’s undisclosed relationships marks a significant development in the corporate landscape, prompting scrutiny and raising questions about transparency and corporate governance within the energy giant.