BP appoints Kate Thomson as its first chief financial officer
BP has appointed its first chief financial officer following the departure of disgraced former boss Bernard Looney.
Kate Thomson has been promoted to interim chief financial officer as part of an executive reshuffle following Looney’s dramatic departure last week.
The BP Thomson veteran will replace Murray Auchincloss in the role after he temporarily took over as chief executive while the search for a permanent successor to Looney continues.
The Irish businessman’s shock resignation, after admitting he had misled an investigation into his personal relationships with colleagues, sparked an urgent search for a new boss.
The oil and gas giant is reportedly looking at both internal and external candidates, although no clear favorite has emerged.
Historic appointment: Kate Thomson (pictured) has been promoted to interim chief financial officer as part of an executive reshuffle following the departure of Bernard Looney last week.
However, there are strong contenders in BP’s current management team, which consists of seven women and four men.
The circumstances of Looney’s departure and the strong presence of women on the executive team mean there is an “opportunity” for BP to name its first female chief executive, analysts said.
There are a growing number of women holding senior positions within the oil industry, including Shell finance chief Sinead Gorman, who was appointed last year, and Harbor Energy chief executive Linda Cook.
Thomson’s current role is senior vice president of finance for production and operations, and she has held other roles including group treasurer and head of group tax in her 19 years with the company.
Announcing her promotion yesterday, Auchincloss said: “Kate brings deep technical knowledge, along with a detailed understanding of BP and has a track record of first-class leadership across our finance function.”
However, BP has a long tradition of promoting production or refining executives to top positions, rather than financial specialists.
Other possible runners include Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, executive vice president of gas and low-carbon energy.
Prior to joining BP, she was CEO of RWE Renewables and led E.On’s climate and renewables business as CEO and COO.
Carol Howle is Vice President of Trade and Shipping and was previously COO of IST Oil, with over 20 years in the energy industry.
Vice president of customers and products Emma Delaney is another potential candidate, having worked for 25 years at BP and most recently as regional president for West Africa.
Leigh-Ann Russell, head of innovation and engineering, and Giulia Chierchia, head of strategy, sustainability and enterprise, are two senior BP executives who could be contenders.
Other women holding senior roles at BP include Kerry Dryburgh, vice president of people and culture, and Louise Kingham, who was appointed head of BP’s UK business in 2021.
“It is certainly an opportunity and of course there is always the possibility of hiring an external woman,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at the online platform Interactive Investor.
Women at the top of BP
- Louise Kingham: Senior Vice President Europe
- Giulia Chierchia: executive vice president of strategy and sustainability
- Carol Howle: Vice President of Trade and Shipping
- Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath: Executive Vice President Gas and Low Carbon Energy
- Leigh-Ann Russell: Head of Innovation and Engineering
- Emma Delaney: Vice President of Customers and Products