BP’s US boss to leave company weeks after CEO Looney

By Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) -BP’s top executive in the United States, Dave Lawler, is leaving the company, the energy company said on Friday in a memo to employees, less than three weeks after the company’s chief executive, Bernard Looney, resigned.

Lawler’s departure piles pressure on BP’s chairman, Helge Lund, and its board as they seek to project stability in the wake of Looney’s abrupt resignation after less than four years in the top job for failing to fully disclose details of past personal relationships with colleagues.

The United States is the largest single country for BP’s operations. It includes oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico and onshore shale basins, and several refineries, as well as large investments in offshore wind, biogas and retail.

Lawler, 55, joined BP in 2014 and has led its shale business, known as BPX Energy, since. He is the younger brother of Doug Lawler, chief executive of Continental Resources, another large U.S. shale oil and gas producer.

Lawler did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

He oversaw BP’s $10.5 billion acquisition of BHP’s onshore shale assets, which turned it into one of the top producers in the Permian oil basin. BPX operations in Texas and Louisiana last year produced an average of 325,000 barrels of oil and gas per day.

Lawler, chairman and president of BP America, is leaving “to pursue new career opportunities,” the memo seen by Reuters said. The FT was first to report the news.

Orlando Alvarez will replace Lawler as head of BP America. Alvarez, who joined the company in 1996, will continue in his role as senior vice president gas and power trading, Americas.

Kyle Koontz will take over as chief executive officer for BPX Energy, the memo said.

(Reporting by Ron Bousso in London, Juby Babu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar, Daniel Wallis and Leslie Adler)