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BP appoints new permanent CEO, Murray Auchincloss

Murray Auchincloss, then interim CEO of BP, at the ADIPEC, Oil and Energy exhibition and conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Oct. 2, 2023.
Murray Auchincloss, then interim CEO of BP, at the ADIPEC, Oil and Energy exhibition and conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Oct. 2, 2023. Copyright Kamran Jebreili/AP
Copyright Kamran Jebreili/AP
By Eleanor Butler
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Auchincloss will permanently replace predecessor Bernard Looney after acting as interim CEO since September.

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After a competitive five-month search process, BP has chosen internal candidate Murray Auchincloss as its new chief executive, the UK oil and gas giant announced on Wednesday.

Auchincloss, BP's former chief financial officer, provisionally took on the role in September 2023 after the shock departure of Bernard Looney.

Previous CEO Looney resigned after less than four years in the post after failing to disclose personal relationships with colleagues.

"The board is in complete agreement that Murray was the outstanding candidate and is the right leader for BP," said Helge Lund, chair of BP, on the appointment.

Auchincloss, a 53-year-old Canadian, joined BP when it merged with the oil company Amoco in 1998.

He became chief of staff to the BP CEO from 2010 to 2013, and later took on the position of chief financial officer in July 2020.

"It's an honour to lead BP," said Murray Auchincloss on Wednesday.

"This is a great company with great people. Our strategy – from international oil company to integrated energy company, or IOC to IEC – does not change. I'm convinced about the significant value we can create," he added.

The new appointment suggests that BP will continue its transition towards greener energy, a shift spearheaded by Bernard Looney.

During his short stint as CEO, the firm became the only major oil company aiming to cut fossil fuel output by the end of the decade, although targets were scaled back in 2023.

After Looney's departure, Helge Lund promised that BP would remain focused on the green energy transition, but some feared that bringing in an external candidate could risk progress on this front.

Bernard Looney, then CEO of oil and gas company BP, walks into 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.
Bernard Looney, then CEO of oil and gas company BP, walks into 10 Downing Street in London, Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.Matt Dunham/AP

As permanent chief executive, Murray Auchincloss must also continue to contend with challenges provoked by Looney’s shock resignation.

BP’s shares dropped 2% in 2023, whilst competitor Shell ended the year with an 11% rise.

Like his predecessor, Auchincloss is in a relationship with a colleague, but as this is disclosed, he is breaching no company rules.

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