BP In Turmoil: CEO Bernard Looney’s Exit. What Happens Next?


BP In Turmoil: CEO Bernard Looney’s Exit. What Happens Next?

Navigating BP's CEO Resignation Crisis

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The unexpected resignation of BP Plc’s Chief Executive Officer, Bernard Looney, has left the energy giant in disarray, with a series of unresolved issues. This article delves into the recent events, the implications for BP, and the questions that remain unanswered.

CEO’s Shock Resignation

On a Tuesday that took the industry by surprise, Looney announced his immediate resignation as CEO. His departure was triggered by a revelation of undisclosed relationships with colleagues. The announcement’s abruptness sent shockwaves through BP, leaving shareholders and employees bewildered.

Market Volatility

BP’s shares experienced a rollercoaster ride as news of the CEO’s resignation emerged. Initial uncertainty caused share prices to rise, fall, and rise again as markets grappled with the situation.

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Board’s Response

BP’s Chairman, Helge Lund, promptly reached out to top shareholders, including BlackRock Inc, Vanguard Group Inc, and Norges Bank, to provide an explanation. He assured them that the company would stick to its existing strategy, initiate a CEO search, and consider both internal and external candidates. However, this left several critical questions unanswered.

Unanswered Questions

Strategy and Leadership

One of the primary concerns is the lack of clarity surrounding BP’s future strategy. With the CEO position vacant, uncertainty lingers about the company’s direction.

Employee Uncertainty

In a webcast with employees, the interim CEO, Murray Auchincloss, emphasized continuity but did not allow for questions. This has left BP staff uncertain about the company’s future, particularly in terms of its clean energy endeavors.

Rival Comparison

Employees in BP’s low-carbon and sustainability divisions may look to rival Shell Plc as an example of the impact a new CEO can have. Shell announced ambitious “net zero” plans under its new CEO, Wael Sawan, who has already initiated business divestments in line with these goals.

BP’s Relative Strength

Despite the CEO turmoil, BP remains financially stable. The company is profitable, generating cash, and carrying lower debt compared to previous years. Moreover, rising oil prices have bolstered its financial position.

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Ongoing Inquiry

While BP appears strong on the surface, an ongoing inquiry into the reasons for Looney’s departure could reveal additional complexities. This inquiry might raise questions about the thoroughness of the company’s due diligence process.


BP’s tumultuous week, marked by its CEO’s abrupt resignation, has raised numerous questions about the company’s future direction, leadership, and strategic objectives. While the company maintains its relative strength, unresolved issues and inquiries cast a shadow over its stability.


  1. What led to Bernard Looney’s resignation as BP’s CEO?
    • Bernard Looney resigned due to undisclosed past relationships with colleagues, which he acknowledged were not fully transparent.
  2. How did BP’s shareholders and employees react to the CEO’s resignation?
    • The announcement of the CEO’s resignation was sudden and disorganized, causing uncertainty. BP’s share prices experienced volatility before eventually stabilizing.
  3. What is the current state of BP’s board and leadership?
    • Murray Auchincloss assumed the role of interim CEO, and the board is actively searching for a new CEO among both internal and external candidates. BP’s Chairman, Helge Lund, ruled himself out as a candidate for the top job.
  4. What challenges might BP’s new CEO face beyond operational matters?
    • The ongoing inquiry into the reasons for Looney’s departure could be lengthy and raise questions about the company’s due diligence processes.
  5. What distinguishes BP’s situation from previous CEO exits?
    • While BP has seen CEO resignations before, the company currently maintains a strong financial position, which provides a relative advantage compared to past crises.