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BP's Chief Executive Officer, Bernard Looney, is poised to step down after serving in the role for over three years, as reported by the Financial Times. According to FT, the reason for his departure was the failure to fully disclose past relationships with colleagues.
Since starting his career at BP as an engineer in 1991, he has occupied various operational and managerial positions across locations such as Alaska, the Gulf of Mexico, Vietnam, and the UK North Sea.
In 2020, Bernard Looney assumed the position of CEO at BP after previously leading the company's Upstream group.
Despite his background in Upstream oil and gas, Bernard Looney has emerged as a prominent advocate within the oil industry for a transition toward low-carbon energy.
Taking office amidst the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Looney unveiled an ambitious blueprint for BP to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, emphasizing the need for the company to “reinvent” itself.
Under Looney's leadership, BP shocked investors by announcing plans to reduce hydrocarbon production by 40% from 2019 levels by 2030.
However, the presentation of these goals drew criticism from environmentalists who argued that BP's decarbonization objectives were merely an inadequate attempt to greenwash its carbon-intensive operations.
Conversely, shareholders expressed disapproval of plans that would substantially curtail hydrocarbon production, contending that a more renewables-centric BP might not be as profitable.
Looney countered the skepticism of investors who claimed that BP's aggressive investments in low-carbon fuels and renewables generated inferior returns compared to hydrocarbons in the current market.
Since unveiling these ambitious plans in 2020, the company has tempered its immediate reduction targets for oil and gas production. Nevertheless, in a recent interview with Reuters, Looney affirmed BP's unwavering commitment to its ambitious energy transition agenda, affirming, "We're holding our course on the transition" and highlighting the company's intention to expand in sectors less correlated with oil prices.
According to Bloomberg, the departing CEO, Bernard Looney, will be temporarily succeeded by Chief Financial Officer Murray Auchincloss.
By Tom Kool for Oilprice.com
Tom majored in International Business at Amsterdam’s Higher School of Economics, he is Oilprice.com's Head of Operations