BP under pressure to overhaul its culture after Looney misconduct scandal

Disgraced ex-BP boss Bernard Looney said he is ‘proud’ of his leadership of the oil company despite the board finding him guilty of serious misconduct.

In his first statement since his shock exit in September, he said he was ‘disappointed with the way the situation has been handled’.

BP’s board on Wednesday stripped the Irish businessman of £32million in pay and bonuses after an investigation found he had lied about previous relationships with colleagues.

Looney said: ‘I am proud of what I achieved with my colleagues during my time as chief executive officer of BP. I am disappointed with the way this situation has been handled.

‘And, as I look to the future, I want to simply wish everyone at BP all the very best. They deserve nothing less.’ 

Ousted: BP this week stripped former chief exec Bernard Looney (pictured) of £32m in pay and bonuses after he lied about relationships with colleagues

BP finance chief Murray Auchincloss was made the company’s interim boss in September but the board is yet to appoint a permanent replacement.

Investors will be looking for BP to draw a line under a series of scandals when they make the chief executive appointment, analysts have said.

Of the four most recent chief executives, three have been forced to resign, which has prompted concerns over BP’s workplace culture.

AJ Bell head of financial analysis Danni Hewson said: ‘The problem for BP is that three of its last four bosses have shuffled off in this manner.’ 

She added: ‘There will be some who think it’s time for BP to bring in new blood, untainted by the past, and with an understanding of how other workplace cultures operate.

‘Corporate culture has become increasingly important – particularly when it comes to bringing in new talent with many competitors vying for their skillsets.’

Former chief executive Lord Browne resigned in 2007 after lying to a court to hide details about his private life.

His successor Tony Hayward was then forced to quit after just three years in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon spill.

Laura Lambie, the senior investment director at Investec, said the Looney saga had been ‘reputationally quite damaging’.

‘Whoever fills Bernard Looney’s shoes, one hopes we are not going to see this again,’ she told the BBC. 

‘It does call into question the culture at BP, and whoever is taking charge needs to draw a line under that and move forward.’

On Wednesday evening BP’s board, led by the oil industry veteran Helge Lund, said that Looney had ‘knowingly misled’ directors over his previous relationships with staff.

His actions amounted to ‘serious misconduct’, the board said, as it terminated Looney’s 12-month notice period.

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