Allegations that prompted the resignation of former BP boss Bernard Looney include the suggestion that he promoted women with whom he had past relationships, according to the Financial Times.
Citing sources familiar with the matter, the news daily reported that these relationships all allegedly occurred prior to his appointment as chief executive in 2020.
The FT said that Mr Looney’s history of relationships with colleagues had been “quietly discussed by staff for years,” particularly those in its London base.
The former CEO resigned last month after an internal investigation into his “conduct in respect of personal relationships with company colleagues” and misleading the board, BP said.
The company’s board received allegations from an anonymous source in May 2022, after which Mr Looney disclosed “a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO”, of which the board had not been made aware.
No breach of the company’s code of conduct was found. The code does not ban personal relationships with colleagues but does identify them as a potential conflict of interest.
In the wake of the recent allegations, BP told the FT that its process for appointments and promotions follow “rigorous hiring and talent management processes” and that no employee, including the chief executive, is able to make unilateral appointments.
“These include detailed role descriptions, interviews with diverse hiring panels, third party assessments and diverse candidate slates,” BP said.
“Promotions and appointments are not made solely at the behest of any single executive or individual.”
“We have no further comment on this beyond that statement and will continue to respect the privacy of a confidential process and of individuals,” it added.
In the wake of Mr Looney’s departure, chief financial officer Murray Auchincloss was named as interim CEO, while the company has confirmed it is currently searching internally and externally for candidates.