By Christian Moess Laursen
BP has announced the appointment of Murray Auchincloss as its new chief executive, a move that marks the company's continued shift from being an oil company to becoming an energy giant. This decision comes after Bernard Looney's unexpected departure last year.
The selection process for the new CEO was rigorous and highly competitive, with BP considering candidates both internally and externally. The board unanimously agreed that Murray Auchincloss was the ideal choice to lead the group, given his extensive experience and deep understanding of the company.
The appointment brings an end to a period of uncertainty for BP. Auchincloss had been serving as the interim CEO since September 12, when Looney's 32-year career at BP came to an abrupt end due to his failure to disclose information about previous personal relationships with colleagues. As a consequence, Looney lost up to £32.4 million ($40.9 million) in compensation, according to BP.
In regards to the company's overall strategy, Auchincloss maintains that the vision remains intact. BP's goal is to transition from an international oil company (IOC) to an integrated energy company (IEC), and Auchincloss is confident in the substantial value that can be created through this shift.
Under Looney's leadership, BP began implementing a strategy to move away from fossil fuels and position itself at the forefront of the global transition to renewable energy. This strategic direction will continue to guide the company's future endeavors.
BP's Future Strategy Questioned
BP has faced challenges in matching the success of its U.S. peers in the fossil fuel industry. This has led to speculation regarding a potential change in strategy following the departure of former CEO, Looney. To address these concerns, Auchincloss held a webcast for BP staff, reassuring them of the company's direction.
Since Looney's exit, BP's shares have performed poorly, dropping by 14%. Investors have grown uncertain about the company's future strategy and its ability to generate returns.
Auchincloss, a seasoned BP executive, brings a wealth of experience to his role. He joined Amoco in 1992 and transitioned to BP after the merger in 1998. Throughout his career, Auchincloss has held various key positions including chief of staff to the CEO from 2010 to 2013. He had been serving as the finance chief since July 2020 and assumed the position of interim CEO after Looney's departure. In his new role, Auchincloss will receive a yearly salary of GBP1.45 million.
Auchincloss emphasized the importance of delivering results, operating safely and efficiently, and maintaining a disciplined approach. He highlighted the need to prioritize returns to provide value for customers, stakeholders, and shareholders and ensure long-term growth for BP.