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Bernard Looney

Bernard Looney - chief executive officer

Chief executive officer


Appointed 5 February 2020


Outside interests:

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Fellow of the Energy Institute

Mentor for the FTSE 100 Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme





Bernard is chief executive of a company going through the most far-reaching transformation in its 112-year history. Recognizing that the world wants and needs energy that is clean as well as reliable and affordable, he set a new direction for bp when he took on the role in February 2020.  


He announced bp’s new purpose – to reimagine energy for people and our planet – and its new ambition to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner, and help the world get to net zero.  


Soon after, he shared bp’s new strategy to transform from an International Oil Company to an Integrated Energy Company – from one that produces resources to one that delivers solutions to customers.


Two distinctive aims for 2030 set the strategy apart: reducing bp’s oil and gas production by around 40% while increasing annual spending on low carbon activities tenfold.


Even as bp diversifies and decarbonizes, Bernard believes that oil and gas remain an essential part of the business, allowing the company to deliver for shareholders today while transforming for tomorrow.


And to do all of this, he has been clear that bp needs to reinvent itself – becoming a leaner, flatter, faster-moving company, as well as one that is more diverse, equitable and inclusive.  


Bernard encourages leaders to demonstrate ‘empathy with edge’ – to be caring and understanding while driving performance improvement. He believes sustainable progress is made by listening more than you talk and working together in mutually beneficial partnerships. And he has long advocated that improving people’s mental health is one of today’s most important challenges.


Bernard joined bp from university as a drilling engineer and gained experience in a series of operational and managerial roles around the world, from the North Sea to Alaska, and from the Gulf of Mexico to Vietnam. He joined the senior leadership team of bp’s oil and gas business in 2010 and was chief operating officer of production for three years before becoming chief executive of bp’s upstream in 2016. In that role, he oversaw significant improvements in safety and performance by embracing digital and agile ways of working.


Bernard grew up on a small farm in Ireland, has a degree in electrical engineering from University College Dublin and a masters in management from Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Outside bp, he is a member of the steering committee for the Council of Inclusive Capitalism; a member of the UK Government’s Build Back Better Business Council; a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and a fellow of the Energy Institute. He is also a mentor in the FTSE 100 Cross-Company Mentoring Executive Programme and an ambassador for 25 x 25, an initiative aimed at improving the gender balance among the leadership of FTSE companies.