Former BP CEO Looney Loses $40 Million in Compensation Amid Board Misconduct Claims

(Reuters) — BP cut over $40 million in remuneration from former CEO Bernard Looney after the British oil giant concluded he had knowingly misled the board over personal relationships with colleagues.

BP's board dismissed Looney without notice effective Dec. 13 and said in a statement on Wednesday he will not receive further salary or benefits from the dismissal date, and will not be paid an annual bonus for fiscal 2023.

Looney, 53, resigned in September with immediate effect after less than four years in the role for failing to fully disclose details of past personal relationships with colleagues.

The company was thrown into turmoil and the board is still seeking a permanent CEO.

Chairman Helge Lund is leading an investigation with the help of law firm Fairfields into Looney's undisclosed relationships to determine whether they breached company rules, company sources told Reuters earlier this month.

BP said Looney's remuneration package was cut by 32.4 million pounds ($40.53 million), with 87% of that due to his resignation on Sept. 12, 10% as a result of the board's decision to dismiss Looney for serious misconduct and a further 3% was clawed back at the discretion of the board.

The majority of the value, nearly 25 million pounds, was linked to Looney losing unvested share awards between 2021 and 2025.

Looney will also be required to repay 50% of the cash portion of his 2022 cash bonus, around 420,000 pounds.

Looney's resignation came after the board investigated similar allegations against him in May 2022, following which Looney gave the board assurances over his past and future conduct.

A spokesperson for Looney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

"Following careful consideration, the board has concluded that, in providing inaccurate and incomplete assurances in July 2022, Mr. Looney knowingly misled the board," BP said in a statement on Wednesday.

Looney's pay package reached around $12 million in 2022 after surging energy prices generated record profits for oil and gas companies.

Following Looney's resignation, BP named Murray Auchincloss, who headed finances under Looney, as interim CEO.

The board is expected to decide on a permanent CEO in the first quarter of 2024, sources told Reuters earlier this month.

Boards have cut executives wages in the past over misconduct.

In one of the first examples, Wells Fargo stripped chief executive John Stumpf of $41 million in stock awards in 2016 after a sales practices scandal.

Two years ago, McDonald's former CEO Steve Easterbrook agreed to return compensation worth $105 million in equity awards and cash to settle a lawsuit over alleged lies about affairs.

($1 = 0.7983 pounds)

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