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Shareholder Advisors Support BP’s Handling of CEO Looney’s Sacking


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(Reuters) – Two major shareholder advisory firms have expressed support for the BP  board’s handling of former CEO Bernard Looney’s dismissal last year, ahead of the British energy giant’s annual general meeting this month.

Looney abruptly stepped down last September and was formally dismissed in December after the board concluded he had knowingly misled it in failing to disclose relationships with colleagues.

BP in December cut more than $40 million from Looney’s potential remuneration, with the board, led by Chairman Helge Lund, clawing back around $2.3 million from his 2023 pay package.

Shares in the group, which reported $13.8 billion in profit in 2023, have underperformed rivals since September.

In a report ahead of the AGM on April 25, shareholder advisory Glass Lewis said it was satisfied with the handling of Looney’s departure.

“Having reviewed the processes by which these decisions were made, we believe shareholders can be reasonably satisfied with the board’s response to this matter, and do not believe further shareholder action is warranted at this time,” Glass Lewis said in its report.

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Shareholder advisory ISS also did not raise concerns.

“As a general comment, the treatment of the former CEO’s equity awards would seem indicative of the issue having been treated seriously,” ISS said.

BP declined to comment. The group appointed Murray Auchincloss, who led finances under Looney, as permanent CEO in January.

Both Glass Lewis and ISS recommended investors support all of the board’s proposed articles at the AGM, including Lund’s reappointment and the leadership’s remuneration.

Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Jan Harvey

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