Energy giant BP announces new CEO will take over in 2020

Newly appointed BP CEO Bernard Looney will take over BP's transition to lower-carbon energy as pressure from investors grows to meet targets under the Paris Climate Agreement. Image Jason Alden Bloomberg

The Board is also pleased to announce that Bernard Looney, 49, now chief executive, Upstream, will succeed Dudley as group chief executive and join the BP Board on 5 February 2020.

Dudley leaves on February 4, 2020 after the presentation of the figures for the previous year.

Dudley has spent 40 years at BP in total and replaced Tony Hayward as chief executive in 2010 following the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

Commenting on the announcement, BP Chairman Helge Lund said: "Bob has dedicated his whole career to the service of this industry". Lamar McKay, who is now deputy chief executive, will immediately be responsible for ensuring a smooth transfer of power.

BP said the moves come after "a comprehensive and deliberate search process, including consideration of a range of internal and external candidates".

Dudley said in the statement: "Bernard is a terrific choice to lead the company next".

BP's chairman, Helge Lund, said the company owes Dudley, who earned $14.7m (£11.7m) past year, a debt of gratitude for his work rebuilding the company after the deadly oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Dudley, 64, has been CEO for the final 10 years.

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Under Dudley, BP opened a new chapter in the United States in 2018 with the $10.5-billion purchase of mining giant BHP Billiton's U.S. shale oil and gas operations.

Most recently, the company sold its Alaska business, including its stake in the historic Prudhoe Bay field, to privately held Hilcorp Energy for $5.6 billion. It also agreed a $10.5bn deal to buy BHP Billiton's United States shale business, its biggest acquisition since Macondo.

Like other European majors, the company in recent years has also increased its investment in low-carbon energy, which Looney is expected to continue.

'His legacy will be a smaller more nimble company, which even now still faces enormous challenges in not only cutting its future carbon foot print, but will need to adapt to a changing energy mix, and which to all intents and purposes still has uncomfortably high debt levels, after the recent acquisition of BHP Billiton's shale assets'.

Looney said he was looking forward to "building on the strong foundation" left by Dudley to "meet society's demand for cleaner, better energy".

Looney, 49, took charge of BP's oil and gas production, or upstream operations, in 2016 as the sector grappled with the aftermath of the 2014 collapse in oil prices. The upstream unit includes some 17,000 people operating across nearly 30 countries and produces around 2.6 million BOE/D.

BP has revealed chief executive Bob Dudley will retire next year after holding the top job at the oil giant for almost a decade. He led the creation of central drilling and projects functions following the Macondo incident.

Looney joined BP in 1991 as a drilling engineer, working in the North Sea, Vietnam and the Gulf of Mexico.

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