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British oil boss quits over ‘relationships’

BP’s CEO was not fully transparent about his romantic affairs with colleagues

BP CEO Bernard Looney. ©  Daniel LEAL / AFP

British energy giant BP has revealed that its CEO Bernard Looney has resigned with immediate effect after failing to fully disclose past personal relationships with co-workers, the company announced in a statement on Wednesday evening.

Looney will be replaced on an interim basis by Chief Financial Officer Murray Auchincloss, according to the company.

The British oil and gas major conducted an internal review last year after receiving allegations about personal relationships between Looney and other employees. At the time, the BP CEO disclosed a “small number” of affairs that occurred before he became chief executive in February 2020, and the firm found that there had been no breach of company rules.

BP said it had recently started a second investigation into alleged relationships that Looney had with colleagues. According to the firm, the BP boss admitted that he had not been “fully transparent” initially.

“He did not provide details of all relationships and accepts he was obligated to make a more complete disclosure,” BP said. “The company has strong values and the board expects everyone at the company to behave in accordance with those values.”

Looney’s resignation comes at a time when BP is trying to convince investors to stick with the company through a costly transition to low-carbon energy. The former chief executive has been a strong advocate of a shift away from fossil fuels to clean energy.

At the same time, the executive was insisting that more investment in oil and gas was needed in order to ensure a smooth energy transition. 

BP CEO says oil and gas investment good for climate change

He explained his logic by arguing that reducing supply “without also reducing demand inevitably leads to price spikes,” and that “price spikes lead to economic volatility.” If that happens, “there’s a risk that volatility will undermine popular support for the transition,” Looney said earlier this year.

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