It’s business as usual

Bernard Looney

With the sudden departure of Bernard Looney as bp chief executive, Murray Auchincloss, bp chief financial officer, is acting as chief executive on an interim basis.

Murray Auchincloss
Murray Auchincloss

Murray is a Canadian national. He qualified as a chartered financial analyst in the US, leading on to a wide range of tax and financial roles, first for Amoco and then for bp after the two organisations merged in 1998. He has worked in both the US and the UK, in a range of roles including chief financial officer, Upstream, and chief financial officer, North Sea. He was the chief financial officer of the company’s North American Gas business and, as head of the chief executive’s office for three years, managed all aspects of that office and the executive process. He was appointed chief financial officer on 1 July 2020.

As such, Murray has been a central part of the management team as bp continues to work towards net zero. In a webcast to all bp staff on Wednesday, 13 September, Murray said: “While the person in the CEO’s chair has changed, the fundamentals have not changed.” He said his main focus was on the safety of staff: “Today, just like every day in bp, we go to work in the field, in our refineries, in offices, at sea, at our retail sites. Thousands of people, all over the world, all of whom deserve to go home safely.”

Murray added that the firm’s “strategy hasn’t changed” and that “the leadership team we have in bp is also unchanged”.

In a press release on 19 September, it was announced that Kate Thomson is appointed as bp interim chief financial officer while Murray remains as interim chief executive. Kate previous role was bp’s senior vice president for production & operations. She has been with bp for 19 years.

You will remember that Bernard Looney succeeded Bob Dudley as chief executive in March 2020 and steered the company through a tumultuous period. His tenure coincided with pandemic lockdowns, when demand for oil and gas dropped sharply and he instigated huge job cuts. Then, in 2022, the start of the war in Ukraine sent energy prices soaring, and prompted the firm to leave Russia after pressure from the UK government. Bernard had set out a plan to make bp net zero by 2050 but had more recently come under fire from environmental groups for watering down an initial target.

MAIN PHOTO: Bernard Looney, guest speaker at the society’s annual reception in November 2019, meeting with some of our members.

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