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The lowdown on BP's next chief executive

BP announced today that Bernard Looney will take over the reins at the firm next year. Here’s a biography with some of Mr Looney’s career highlights:

Mr Looney has run BP’s upstream business since April 2016 and has been a member of the company’s executive management team since November 2010.

As chief executive, upstream, Mr Looney was responsible for all BP’s oil and gas exploration, development and production activities worldwide.

The Upstream segment includes some 17,000 people operating across almost 30 countries and produces around 2.6 million barrels equivalent of oil and gas a day.

During his tenure, process and personal safety performance has improved by 35% and 20% respectively and production has grown by 20%, driven largely by 23 major project start-ups – delivered ahead of schedule and under budget.

He has led access into new countries, including Mauritania and Senegal, high-graded the portfolio with the acquisition of onshore US assets from BHP Billiton and the proposed sale of the Alaska business, and created innovative new business models such as Aker BP in Norway.

Mr Looney has encouraged BP to lead the industry on methane detection methods as well as driving sustainable emissions reductions of almost 3 million tonnes CO2 equivalent in the past two years.

Under his leadership, Mr Looney has made significant improvements in both gender and global diversity, with his top regional leadership team now being one-third women and one-third from outside the US/UK. He has also initiated a company-wide dialogue on mental health in hope of ‘ending the stigma’ associated with the issue.

In earlier upstream executive roles, he was responsible for all BP-operated oil and gas production worldwide and for all BP’s drilling and major project activity. He led the creation of central drilling and projects functions following the Deepwater Horizon accident.

He joined BP in 1991 as a drilling engineer and worked in operational roles in the North Sea, Vietnam and the Gulf of Mexico, including as drilling engineer on the discovery of the giant Thunder Horse field.  After a period in BP Alaska, he became head of the group chief executive’s office, working directly for BP chief executives Lord Browne and then Tony Hayward.

An Irish citizen, Mr Looney grew up in County Kerry and in 1991 gained a degree in Electrical Engineering from University College Dublin. He later, in 2005, gained a MS in Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

He is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Energy Institute and is also a mentor in the FTSE 100 Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme.

Career history:

2016-present:   chief executive, Upstream

2013-2016:        chief operating officer, production

2010-2013:        executive vice president, developments & member of BP executive team

2009-2010:        managing director, BP North Sea

2008-2009:        vice president, Norway and North Sea infrastructure

2006-2008:        head of group chief executive office

2005-2006:        senior vice president, BP Alaska

2004-2005:        Stanford Graduate Business School

2002-2004:        executive assistant to Group vice president exploration & renewal

1991-2002:        production and drilling engineering roles in North Sea, Vietnam and deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

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