British oil and gas major BP Plc has announced the surprise exit of Bernard Looney, its chief executive officer (CEO) since Feb 2020, with the Irishman stepping down from his role and leaving the company after he failed to ‘fully detail relationships with colleagues.’

FILE – CEO of oil and gas company BP Bernard Looney talks during the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Monday, Oct. 31, 2022. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili, File)

“He did not provide details of all relationships and accepts he was obliged to make more complete disclosure. The company has strong values and the board expects everyone at the company to behave in accordance with those values. All leaders in particular are expected to act as role models and to exercise good judgment in a way that the earns the trust of others,” BP informed its investors in a statement on Tuesday, according to The Guardian.

Why the resignation?

Last year, Looney underwent a review during which the 53-year-old revealed ‘a small number of historical relationships prior to becoming CEO’; the review was triggered due to information received from an ‘anonymous source.’

At the time, the London-headquartered firm did not find any breach of its code of conduct; however, it was given assurance by the now-former CEO regarding both his past relationships and future behaviour.

Recently, some fresh allegations were made, necessitating an inquiry that is still ongoing.

“Mr Looney has today informed the company that he was not fully transparent in his previous disclosures,” BP’s statement read.

What next? Who is the new CEO?

Murray Auchincloss, the oil and gas giant’s chief financial officer (CFO), will fill the vacant chair on an interim basis. Bloomberg has Auchincloss on its list of BP Plc’s next full-time CEO, the others being Heige Lund, William Lin, Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath and Gordon Birrell.

Bernard Looney’s tenure in BP Plc

He joined in 1991 at the age of 21, and went on to hold roles in its operations in North Sea, Vietnam and Mexico; in 2016, he was elevated as the head of its upstream division.

After taking over as the chief executive officer, Looney unveiled his plan to make BP ‘a net-zero company by 2050 or sooner.’

Written By Radhika Madan

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