• Companies The oil company BP prepares a turn in its strategy to boost the profitability of its network of gas stations

Irishman Bernard Looney has suddenly tendered his resignation as chief executive of energy giant BP over "undeclared personal relationships with work colleagues," according to a statement from the company late on Tuesday.

Looney, who took the helm of BP in 2020 and led the company during the pandemic with the loss of up to 10,000 jobs, remained at the helm during the Ukraine war and closed in 2022 with a record profit of more than 26,000 million euros in the midst of the energy crisis. The replacement of his predecessor, Bob Dudley, was accompanied by a turn by BP towards oil and gas exploration, Looney's specialty since he became an engineer in 1991.

Questioned about the wage difference (he received a bonus of 11.5 million euros last year and earned 170 times more than the average worker), BP opened a first internal investigation into his personal relationships at work after the "tip" of an employee in 2022.

The company opened a second investigation in recent months and has accused its former chief executive of "lack of transparency" during the process, without going into more detail about his relations with employees. "The company has strong values and the board expects them to be respected," the statement read. "Leaders, in particular, must act as role models and earn the trust of others with sound judgment."

Chief Financial Officer Murray Auchincloss will temporarily take over BP until a successor is named in the coming weeks. Looney's resignation comes after a series of sex scandals in the British business class, from former CBI boss director Tony Danker (who resigned in April) to the resignation of financier Crispin Odey, head of an investment fund in the City, denounced for harassment by 13 women. Bernard Looney, 52, was briefly married for two years to columnist and personal coach Jacqueline Hurst. They divorced in 2019, just before his promotion to BP's chief executive after a decade on the board.

  • Petroleum
  • United Kingdom