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Bernard Looney

Bernard Looney - chief executive officer

Chief executive officer


Appointed to the board 4 February 2020


Outside interests:

Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering

Fellow of the Energy Institute








Bernard Looney is chief executive officer of BP, a role he took on in February 2020.


Before becoming CEO, Bernard ran BP’s Upstream business. As chief executive, Upstream, he was responsible for all BP’s oil and gas exploration, development and production activities worldwide.  During his tenure, process and personal safety performance improved by 35% and 20% respectively and production grew by 20%, driven largely by 23 major project start-ups – delivered ahead of schedule and under budget.


He led access into new countries, including Mauritania and Senegal, high-graded the portfolio with the acquisition of onshore US assets from BHP Billiton and the proposed sale of the Alaska business, and created innovative new business models such as Aker BP in Norway.


As Upstream CEO, Bernard encouraged BP to lead the industry on methane detection methods as well as driving sustainable emissions reductions of almost 3 million tonnes CO2 equivalent in the past two years.


Bernard also made significant improvements in both gender and global diversity, with his top regional leadership team becoming one third women and one-third from outside the US/UK. He has also initiated a company-wide dialogue on mental health in hope of ‘ending the stigma’ associated with the issue.


In earlier Upstream executive roles, he was responsible for all BP-operated oil and gas production worldwide and for all BP’s drilling and major project activity. He led the creation of central drilling and projects functions following the Deepwater Horizon accident. 

Bernard joined BP in 1991 as a drilling engineer and worked in operational roles in the North Sea, Vietnam and the Gulf of Mexico, including as drilling engineer on the discovery of the giant Thunder Horse field.  After a period in BP Alaska, he became head of the group chief executive's office, working directly for BP chief executives Lord Browne and then Tony Hayward.


An Irish citizen, Bernard grew up in County Kerry and in 1991 gained a degree in Electrical Engineering from University College Dublin. He later, in 2005, gained a MS in Management from Stanford Graduate School of Business.


Bernard is a fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, a fellow of the Energy Institute and is also a mentor in the FTSE 100 Cross Company Mentoring Executive Programme.

Career history:


2020-present: chief executive officer, BP


2016-2020: chief executive, Upstream


2013-2016: chief operating officer, production


2010-2013: executive vice president, developments and member of BP executive team


2009-2010: managing director, BP North Sea


2008-2009: vice president, Norway and North Sea infrastructure


2006-2008: head of group chief executive office


2005-2006: senior vice president, BP Alaska


2004-2005: Stanford Graduate Business School


2002-2004: executive assistant to Group vice president exploration and renewal


1991-2002: production and drilling engineering roles in North Sea, Vietnam and deepwater Gulf of Mexico.