BP CEO Bernard Looney Resigns Over Past Relationships with Colleagues

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Bernard Looney, the CEO of BP, a major oil company, has resigned from his position after serving for less than four years. This surprising development stems from Looney’s admission of not being “fully transparent” in his previous disclosures regarding personal relationships with colleagues. In this article, we will delve into the details surrounding Bernard Looney┬áresigns, its implications for BP, and the broader context of corporate responsibility and climate change in the oil and gas industry.

Looney’s Tenure at BP

Bernard Looney took the helm as CEO of BP in February 2020. His appointment was notable not only for his leadership role in one of the world’s largest energy companies but also because he was the first openly gay CEO in the oil industry. During his tenure, Looney initiated several significant changes within the company, including a commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and substantial investments in renewable energy.

Allegations and Initial Investigation

The allegations against Looney first surfaced in May 2022, causing immediate concern within BP. The company responded by launching an internal investigation to assess the veracity of these claims. Initially, Looney was cleared of any wrongdoing, and it seemed that the matter had been resolved.

The Resignation Trigger

Despite the initial clearance, BP disclosed that it had recently received new information prompting a reevaluation of the situation. This fresh evidence ultimately led to Looney’s decision to resign. His resignation serves as a reminder that personal conduct and transparency are increasingly crucial aspects of leadership, even at the highest levels of corporate leadership.

Looney’s Apology and Personal Responsibility

In his statement following his resignation, Looney expressed deep remorse for the distress his actions had caused and took full responsibility for his mistakes. He noted that stepping down was a way to prevent further distractions for the company, recognizing the importance of maintaining BP’s focus on its mission and goals.

Interim CEO and the Search for a Replacement

With Looney’s departure, BP swiftly announced that Murray Auchincloss, the company’s chief financial officer, would assume the role of interim CEO. Meanwhile, the company will embark on a search for a permanent replacement to guide BP through this transitional period.

Impact on BP

Bernard Looney’s resignation is undoubtedly a setback for BP. He was a well-regarded CEO credited with modernizing the company and making bold commitments to address climate change. However, the allegations against him have cast a shadow over his legacy, leaving BP to grapple with both his departure and the challenges ahead.

Climate Change and Corporate Responsibility

Looney’s resignation comes at a time when BP, like many other oil and gas companies, faces increasing scrutiny from investors and regulators regarding its climate change policies. BP’s pledge to invest significant sums in renewable energy has garnered both praise and criticism. Some applaud the company’s efforts to diversify its portfolio, while others argue that more aggressive measures are needed to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

A Landmark Resignation

Looney’s resignation carries historical significance as he is the first CEO of a major oil company to resign over allegations of personal misconduct. This landmark event highlights the growing emphasis on ethical behaviour and transparency within the corporate world, even in sectors traditionally associated with controversy.

Industry-Wide Pressure for Change

Beyond BP, the oil and gas industry as a whole is under mounting pressure to address environmental concerns and transition to more sustainable practices. Looney’s resignation serves as a stark reminder that no company or executive is immune to the shifting expectations surrounding corporate responsibility.

BP’s Ongoing Rebranding Efforts

In recent years, BP has undertaken substantial efforts to rebrand itself as a more sustainable and responsible energy company. Looney played a pivotal role in this transformation. His resignation poses challenges to BP’s ongoing efforts to reshape its image and align its business strategy with the demands of a changing world.

Uncertain Future for BP

As BP navigates the aftermath of Looney’s resignation, uncertainties loom over the company’s future. The immediate focus will be on selecting a new CEO who can lead the company through a period of transition. However, BP’s broader challenges, including its commitment to sustainability and navigating a rapidly evolving energy landscape, are sure to persist.


In conclusion, Bernard Looney’s resignation as CEO of BP marks a significant turning point for the company and the oil and gas industry as a whole. It underscores the importance of personal conduct, transparency, and corporate responsibility in leadership roles, regardless of the industry. BP now faces the task of finding a new leader to guide the company through an increasingly complex and demanding energy landscape while maintaining its commitments to sustainability and environmental responsibility.

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Amanda Mills

By Amanda Mills

I am a marketing communication and administrative professional with over 5+ years of experience. My experience encompasses strategic marketing, office administration, public speaking, blogging, and creative content.