BP Plc is looking both internally and externally for a new chief executive officer to replace Bernard Looney, who left his post abruptly after failing to fully disclose relationships with colleagues.
(Bloomberg) — BP Plc is looking both internally and externally for a new chief executive officer to replace Bernard Looney, who left his post abruptly after failing to fully disclose relationships with colleagues.
Chairman Helge Lund, who heads BP’s nomination committee, told staff in a webcast Wednesday that the CEO-search process has started, in comments that were confirmed by BP’s press office.
Lund, who joined the board in 2018 after a brief stint as BG Group’s CEO, headed that same committee in 2019 when Looney was selected as BP’s new boss. The panel could look very different this time around. Of the seven members in 2019, only three remain on the board.
The current committee is made up of Helge Lund, Paula Reynolds, John Sawers and Amanda Blanc, the last of whom joined this year. BP wasn’t able to give a timetable of how long the nomination process would take.
Reynolds and Blanc, along with board members Pamela Daley, Melody Meyer and Tushar Morzaria, also sit on the remuneration committee that will decide how much compensation Looney is due after his resignation.
BP said earlier this week that no decisions had been made yet regarding the former CEO’s remuneration. Pay details are typically made public in the company’s annual report published in the spring with any disclosures before that to be made as appropriate, a BP spokesperson said.
Unlike the orderly process in 2019 that ended in Looney’s nomination, the CEO’s sudden departure after less than four years in the job means there was no succession plan in place. Chief Financial Officer, Murray Auchincloss was named as interim CEO and immediately sought to reassure BP employees that “our strategy hasn’t changed.”
The company also engaged external headhunters before the appointment of Looney as CEO, but he was already the prime candidate for the role. He had been leading BP’s upstream division, a frequent conduit to the top job, and was one the so-called “turtles” — top executives closely associated with visionary former CEO John Browne.
Among the possible candidates to become the new CEO now, none are in quite so dominant a position.
Lund has ruled himself out as the company’s next chief executive, a BP spokesperson said. The Financial Times reported earlier that the chairman had no plans to replace Looney.
(Adds news that Lund has ruled himself out as the company’s next CEO in final paragraph.)
More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.