Former BP boss says Looney’s shock exit ‘came out of nowhere’

Bernard Looney gestures as he addresses the gathering on the second day of the three-day B20 Summit in New Delhi on August 26, 2023.

Arun Sankar | Afp | Getty Images

Former BP CEO Bob Dudley on Tuesday said that Bernard Looney’s abrupt resignation last month came as a shock and denied any prior knowledge of the latter’s past personal relationships with colleagues.

Dudley, who worked at BP for 40 years and led the company as CEO for nearly a decade, said the British energy major would soon find a suitable successor and that Looney’s departure would likely not impact the firm’s strategy. Looney succeeded Dudley, who stood down as BP CEO in 2020.

Looney resigned with immediate effect on Sept. 12 after less than four years on the job. He informed the company that he was not “fully transparent in his previous disclosures” about relationships with colleagues before becoming CEO, BP said.

Citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter, the Financial Times reported that Looney had promoted women with whom he had undisclosed past relationships, adding that his relevant romantic relationships with BP colleagues took place before his promotion to CEO. CNBC was unable to independently verify the reports.

“It’s a shock to the organization. It came out of nowhere, and I think that the company has great assets, great people,” Dudley told CNBC at an oil and gas conference Tuesday, the Abu Dhabi International Progressive Energy Congress.

Exit of Bernard Looney was 'a shock to the organization,' former BP CEO says

“It is not about one person, and it won’t be long before there will be replacements in there, and the company will do fine, because it is a really strong company with a wide spectrum to its portfolio,” he added.

Asked whether there was a valid accusation that he might have known more about the situation, given his time mentoring Looney, Dudley replied, “I didn’t know anything about it and neither did the deputy CEO and others and the board. Should have I known? I don’t know. Maybe I was a bit naïve, but I had no clue. No clue at all.”

‘Things at BP are OK’

Murray Auchincloss, interim chief executive officer of BP Plc, speaks during a panel session at the Abu Dhabi International Petroleum Exhibition and Conference (ADIPEC) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, on Monday, Oct. 2, 2023.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

“Look, we laid out an update to the strategy in February, seven months ago, that’s a strategy that’s endorsed…

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