Providing coverage of Alaska and northern Canada's oil and gas industry
October 2019

Vol. 24, No.40 Week of October 06, 2019

Oil patch insider: BP CEO Bob Dudley to retire; no decision yet on timing

Kay Cashman

Petroleum News

BP’s top executive Bob Dudley recently confirmed rumors that he will step down as chief executive officer but says BP’s board has not yet decided on the timing.

The major’s first American CEO has indicated several times in private exchanges that he’d like to retire at the age of 65, which he’ll turn in September 2020.

On Sept. 28, Sky News reported that Dudley planned to retire within a year and that BP’s board would be announcing it by the end of 2019.

The rumor was first confirmed by Dudley at the Russia Energy Week conference in Moscow, where he told reporters that he has long intended to retire when he turns 65, per an Oct. 2 report from Carl Surran, Seeking Alpha’s news editor.

Dudley took over as BP’s CEO in April 2010 when Tony Hayward resigned in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico that caused the biggest oil spill in U.S. history and resulted in the deaths of 11 rig workers.

Per Seeking Alpha, BP’s London-traded shares have gained 14% since Dudley has been at the helm.

A Reuters story by Ron Bousso said that Dudley’s retirement plans were discussed at a mid-September board meeting.

“Preparations for his departure were accelerated after Helge Lund became BP chairman in January 2019 with a mandate to oversee succession plans,” and no decision on a successor has been made, per the news agency’s unnamed sources.

Likely successors include Looney

Bernard Looney, chief executive of upstream, and Brian Gilvary, chief financial officer, are likely candidates to succeed Dudley, sources previously told Reuters.

Looney, 48, is responsible for exploration, development and production.

He joined BP in 1991 as a drilling engineer, working in the North Sea, Vietnam and the Gulf of Mexico. In 2005 Looney became senior vice president for BP Alaska before becoming head of the group chief executive’s office in 2007.

In 2009 he became the managing director of BP’s North Sea business, also becoming a member of the Oil & Gas UK Board.

Looney became executive vice president, developments, in October 2010, and in February 2013 became chief operating officer, production, serving in the role until April 2016.

Gilvary, 57, is responsible for finance, tax, treasury, mergers and acquisitions, investor relations, audit, global business services, information technology and procurement. He also has accountability for both integrated supply and trading, and the shipping division responsible for BP’s tanker fleet.

He joined BP in 1986. Following a broad range of roles in upstream, downstream and trading in Europe and the U.S., Gilvary became downstream commercial director from 2002 to 2005. From 2005 until 2009 he was chief executive of the integrated supply and trading function. In 2010 he was appointed deputy group chief financial officer.

He was a director of TNK-BP from 2003 to 2005 and from 2010 until the sale of the business and BP’s acquisition of Rosneft equity in 2013. He served on the HM Treasury Financial Management Review Board from 2014 to 2017.


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