Bernard Looney was CEO of BP for more than three years.
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Bernard Looney resigned as CEO of BP on Tuesday over undisclosed relationships with colleagues. His ex-wife, Jacqueline Hurst, wrote in her 2021 book he ended their marriage in a text message. She claimed that Looney only married her “to get to the next level of seniority in the company.”
The former wife of BP’s CEO who abruptly resigned this week said he ended their marriage “without warning” and “suddenly” over a text message.
Bernard Looney stepped down from the top of BP, one of the world’s biggest oil and gas companies, on Tuesday night after admitting he hadn’t disclosed close relationships with colleagues that had since come to light.
His ex-wife, Jacqueline Hurst, said in her book “How To Do You: The Life Changing Art of Mastering Your Thoughts and Taking Control of Your Life” that Looney told her he was leaving her on a chat on the messaging platform WhatsApp.
“When my husband ended our marriage suddenly and without warning via a WhatsApp message, I was naturally devastated,” Hurst wrote in the book published in 2021.
“I learned later that he had only married me because he wanted to get to the next level of seniority in the company he worked at and he had to be seen to be married, in order to be given the promotion,” she added.
The author and life coach, who married Looney in 2017, said that the way he ended their marriage was “unbelievable”. She also said it was an “unexpected gift” that they divorced in 2019, three months before he became CEO of BP, according to the Evening Standard.
Looney resigned as CEO of BP after less than four years in the role. In a statement, BP announced his departure following an investigation into his conduct and personal relationships with colleagues.
It said that the board was tipped off in May 2022 about claims he’d had personal relationships with coworkers. In a review Looney “disclosed a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO.”
The company said Looney breached its code of conduct, but that it received “further allegations of a similar nature” more recently. BP said it’s now investigating those claims.
Looney “did not provide details of all relationships and accepts he was obligated to make more complete disclosure,” per the statement.
The Financial Times reported some in the oil industry had joked that dealing with the fallout of Looney’s departure “could be BP’s biggest clean-up operation since the Gulf of Mexico oil spill” in 2010.
It’s not the first sudden resignation by a BP CEO. In May 2007 John Browne quit after a UK court lifted an injunction preventing a newspaper group from publishing details about his private life, Reuters reported.
Separately, another British executive, Steve Easterbrook, was ousted as global CEO of McDonald’s in 2019 following a relationship with a colleague that breached the company’s code of conduct.
BP and Looney didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours.