Bernard Looney, CEO of energy giant BP, has resigned after failing to disclose personal relationships with colleagues during a board review last year.
According to a statement from bp, Looney’s conduct was reviewed in May 2022 following allegations from anonymous colleagues: “During that review, Mr Looney disclosed a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO.”
At that time, no breach of the company code was found, but since then, allegations of a similar nature have been received by the company, and Looney accepted that he was not “fully transparent” during last year’s review.
The company said that he is stepping down immediately and will be replaced by chief financial officer, Murray Auchincloss, on an interim basis. It added that no decision had yet been made with respect to any remuneration payments.
Looney spent his entire career at bp, having joined as an engineer in 1991. The former CEO “accepts he was obliged to make a more complete disclosure”, according to bp.
The company said that an investigation involving an external legal council is ongoing.
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Looney took the role of CEO in February 2020, pledging that the company would become carbon neutral by 2050. He had also said that the oil giant would increase the amount it invests in low-carbon projects tenfold by 2030.
Despite these pledges, under Looney’s leadership, bp has also been accused of extensive greenwashing by using renewables targets to distract from continued oil and gas production.
Last month, a report that sampled data from 12 energy majors including bp found that only 7.3% ($7.09bn) of the 12 companies’ 2022 investments went towards renewable energy. The remaining 92.7% ($87.95bn) funded fossil fuels.
Earlier this year, Looney faced criticism from environmentalists including activist investors for scaling back its net-zero ambitions while recording record annual profits in 2022 following an increase in energy prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The energy giant was simultaneously under pressure from investors to focus on its oil and gas business.
In March, Looney’s pay package was doubled to more than £10m ($12.5m), which was described as a “kick in the teeth” by NGO Global Witness as UK households struggled to pay energy bills amid the cost of living crisis.