BP criticized by ‘toxic’ Bernard Looney as search begins for new boss
BP has been accused of turning a blind eye to Bernard Looney’s “toxic” behavior as it launches a search for his successor.
This week he abruptly resigned as CEO of the oil giant after admitting that he misled the board of directors about an investigation launched last year into his personal relationships with colleagues.
The company is coming under fire for naming him CEO in 2020 even though his reputation for relationships is apparently widespread.
Barbara Schonhofer, a prominent advocate for women in business, said: “Why was he hired for such a prominent, high-profile leadership position?”
Schonhofer, who runs ISC Group, an advocacy organization for women in the insurance industry, questioned how much due diligence was done before Looney’s appointment was announced in 2019, leaving the board to deal with the fallout when issues arose. details of his private life. .
Ousted: Bernard Looney (pictured) resigned as BP chief executive this week after admitting he misled the board about an investigation launched last year into his personal relationships with colleagues.
‘How far do toxic leaders have to go before the decision is made that they should do it?’ she said. “This type of behavior would not be accepted or tolerated in a woman.”
The comments came as BP Chairman Helge Lund ruled himself out as Looney’s successor.
Last year, an anonymous whistleblower informed BP’s board of directors about Looney’s frolics with colleagues.
After admitting to a “small number” of relationships and giving assurances about his future behavior, it was decided he had not breached the company’s code of conduct.
But last week more allegations emerged, forcing him to admit he had not been “fully transparent” and quit his job immediately.
BP has launched a new investigation into Looney’s behavior. Sir Vince Cable, the former business secretary, has asked to be stripped of the £8m in bonuses he received last year.
BP has appointed Murray Auchincloss, its chief financial officer, as interim boss. Auchincloss has a partner who also works at BP. The company said the relationship had been “fully and appropriately disclosed,” including during its hiring process. Auchincloss, a Canadian, has worked for BP since it acquired oil giant Amoco in 1998.
He is considered a leading candidate for the top job but faces competition from others within BP.
A source told Reuters this week that he was “already the power behind the throne.”
A BP spokesperson said there was a “rigorous and thorough appointment process” when Looney was given the top job.