FILE PHOTO: BP's new Chief Executive Bernard Looney speaks during a Q&A in central London, Britain February 12, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Agencies): The head of oil giant BP has resigned as chief executive amid a review of his personal relationships with colleagues.

The company said Bernard Looney, who had led the company since 2020, was stepping down with immediate effect.

BP said it had recently started an investigation into alleged relationships Mr Looney had with colleagues, the second such review in two years.

The firm said Mr Looney had admitted he was not “fully transparent” initially.

“The company has strong values and the board expects everyone at the company to behave in accordance with those values,” a spokesman said.

“All leaders in particular are expected to act as role models and to exercise good judgement in a way that earns the trust of others.”

Mr Looney had spent his career at BP, which he joined in 1991 as an engineer. He became a member of its executive team in 2010.

Mr Looney had set out a plan to make the energy giant net zero by 2050 but had come under fire from environmental groups for watering down his initial targets.

His departure comes at a time of sharper scrutiny of executive personal behaviour which has seen other high profile dismissals.

BP said it had not made any decisions related to severance pay for Mr Looney. He received more than £10m in pay and bonuses last year, as soaring oil prices pushed the firm’s profits to a record.

Chief financial officer Murray Auchincloss will act as chief executive on an interim basis.

The company said that Mr Looney had admitted to not being “fully transparent” during a 2022 review of his relationships with colleagues, which was launched after an anonymous tip-off.

At the time, the company said Mr Looney disclosed “a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO” and it found no breach of company conduct.

The board said it had received similar allegations “recently” and launched an investigation.

Mr Looney “did not provide details of all relationships and accepts he was obligated to make more complete disclosure”, BP said.

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