BP Tightens Workplace Romance Rules Following CEO Scandal

A conflict of interest policy at oil giant BP now requires employees to share details of any romantic relationships with their coworkers.

New Policy Update at BP

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A massive shake-up of BP company policy means that some employees must now disclose any and all romantic relationships they have had with coworkers in the previous three years.

Following CEO Dismissal

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The overhaul came about after former chief executive officer Bernard Looney was dismissed last year for “serious misconduct,” due to a failure to disclose the details of his relationship with a colleague.

90,000 Employees Affected

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The policy will apply to all 90,000 employees, with an explicit ban on any romantic relationships between higher-level employees and anyone that they manage.

Senior Managers Must Report

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Senior managers, who equate to around 4,500 people, will be required to submit thorough reports detailing any coworker relationships that have occurred in their department.

Disciplinary Action

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Any employees who do not disclose information about an interworkplace relationship could face disciplinary action, and possibly lose their job.

Three-Month Grace Period

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Employees have been given a ‘grace period’ of three months, meaning they have until September 1st to disclose any pertinent information. This newest update will be reviewed by the company at the end of the year.

No Manager-Subordinate Relations

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According to a company memo on the policy, BP now “prohibits employees from directly or indirectly managing relatives or those with whom they’re in an intimate relationship,” following Looney’s dismissal.

Significant Policy Change

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Previously BP managers were only required to share information about colleague relationships if they felt it represented a conflict of interest between the relationship and their commitment to their position with the company, but this is no longer the case.

Conflict or No Conflict

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“Employees were previously required to disclose and record such relationships if they felt there could be a conflict of interest,” a BP spokesperson elaborated in a company statement. “Now they are required to disclose intimate relationships at work, whether or not they feel they represent a conflict of interest.”

Based on Similar Company Policies

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The company also explained that it had surveyed similar conflict of interest policies at similar companies and felt that the new update more accurately reflects “the influence that leaders have” in the workplace.

Looney Shakes Up Company Structure

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Looney’s dismissal in September, and the resulting publicity, have echoed throughout the company. His departure from the company came as an abrupt shock to many.

30 Years With BP

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Up until that point he had been working for BP for more than three decades, starting as an engineer in 1991, ascending to the executive team in 2010, and being appointed to CEO in 2020, replacing Bob Dudley.

Lack of Transparency

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In September Looney admitted that he had not been “fully transparent” with the BP board of directors about a romantic relationship he had previously had with an employee.

Investigation Began in 2022

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The relationship was first investigated in 2022, but the board later claimed it was “knowingly misled” by Looney during this period and given “inaccurate and incomplete assurances.”

$40 Million Forfeit

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The dismissal over misconduct also meant that he was forced to give up more than $40 million in annual bonuses, benefits, share awards, and more.

Falling Short

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At the time, BP released an official statement on the situation, clarifying that Looney had failed to live up to the expectations of a BP executive.

Strong Values and Good Judgement

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“The company has strong values and the board expects everyone at the company to behave in accordance with those values,” it read. “All leaders, in particular, are expected to act as role models and to exercise good judgment in a way that earns the trust of others.”

Looney is Disappointed

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In his own statement acknowledging the situation and announcing his resignation, Looney described being “disappointed with the way this situation has been handled.”

Interim CEO

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Interestingly, the new company policy does not apply to Murray Auchincloss, the interim CEO who has temporarily replaced Looney. Auchincloss is in a long-term relationship with fellow BP Julia Emanuele.

Relationship Disclosed

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BP spokespeople have confirmed that Auchincloss had already disclosed his relationship with Emanuele back in 2020 when he was first appointed chief financial officer.

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The postBP Tightens Workplace Romance Rules Following CEO Scandal first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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