How disgraced BP chief Bernard Looney’s workplace flings cost oil giant $3.6 billion

How disgraced BP chief Bernard Looney’s workplace flings cost oil giant $3.6 billion
  • PublishedSeptember 15, 2023

Oil giant BP’s value slumped by AU$3.6 billion after its boss was forced out in disgrace.

Bernard Looney, 53, was shown the door for not coming clean about a string of workplace hook-ups.

BP is now under pressure to claw back millions in bonuses paid to the chief executive.

The huge amount was wiped off the oil giant’s share price as investors reeled from his shock departure.

BP’s market valuation slumped from AU$101.5 billion to AU$98.7 billion in the wake of the scandal — dragging London’s FTSE 100 lower too.

The shares dive also dealt a blow to the UK’s biggest pension funds which have around AU$570 million invested in BP. That drops in value when the shares fall.

BP boss Bernard Looney’s workplace flings have cost the oil giant £2billion after shares slumped. Picture: Arun SANKAR / AFP

BP boss Bernard Looney’s workplace flings have cost the oil giant £2billion after shares slumped. Picture: Arun SANKAR / AFP

Mr Looney joined the company aged 21 as a drill engineer.

Friends have highlighted his workaholic nature and three-decade stint at the company as a reason for workplace relationships.

He was married for two years to life coach Jacqueline Hurst, who wrote in her book How to Do You that her ex-husband dumped her by WhatsApp message.

She wrote: “I learned later he had only married me because he wanted to get to the next level of seniority in the company he worked for and he had to be seen to be married, in order to be given the promotion.”

Mr Looney pocketed AU$18.3 million last year as the war in Ukraine drove up energy prices and led to a AU$42.9 billion profit bonanza.

He angered Brits struggling to afford heating bills by likening the business to a “cash machine”.

Loony was married for two years to life coach Jacqueline Hurst, who wrote in her book 'How to Do You' that her ex-husband dumped her by WhatsApp message. Picture: Instagram

Loony was married for two years to life coach Jacqueline Hurst, who wrote in her book ‘How to Do You’ that her ex-husband dumped her by WhatsApp message. Picture: Instagram

BP — which under his leadership ramped up its ESG (environmental, social, governance) credentials — now faces questions about its company culture and what it knew of his relationships.

Irish Mr Looney acknowledged that he had not been “fully transparent” with the company about previous workplace hook-ups.

Late on Tuesday BP revealed it had conducted an investigation last year into Mr Looney’s relationships with staff.

At the time the board was satisfied there was no misconduct.

It was thought to have received affidavits from Mr Looney about the nature of some of these relationships and a pledge about his future behaviour while chief exec.

But a whistleblower recently made fresh claims about more relationships when he was leading BP’s upstream oil and gas business.

One senior industry source said Mr Looney was often gossiped about on WhatsApp. BP is now working with a law firm to investigate the new allegations.

It said: “All leaders in particular are expected to act as role models and to exercise good judgment.”

Mr Looney had been unusually woke for an oil giant boss.

He campaigned for gender equality and used Instagram to conduct question-and-answer sessions and respond to eco critics.

And he regularly posted pictures of female colleagues he met on his travels including what he called BP’s “brilliant women engineers”.

His bid to radically change BP’s strategy with a pledge to become net zero by 2050 had a mixed reception. Last year he was forced to tone down his plan and admit the firm would still have to invest in oil and gas production.

His workplace romances could mean he is forced to hand back some of his bonuses if the probe reveals evidence of misconduct.

BP CEO Bernard Looney. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP

BP CEO Bernard Looney. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas / AFP

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable, who brought in clawback rules during his time as Business Secretary in the coalition government, called on BP to force Looney to hand back his bonuses.

SOURCE: NEWS.COM

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