Two senior women leave BP in first big shake-up since Looney’s exit

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Two senior women are leaving BP in the first major changes to the company’s management team since the departure last year of chief executive Bernard Looney in a scandal over his past relationships with colleagues.

Chief technology and innovation officer Leigh-Ann Russell is leaving for an external job after 18 years at BP, while Anja-Isabel Dotzenrath, who joined in 2022 to head BP’s gas and low carbon business, will retire, the FTSE 100 oil major said in a statement on Thursday.

Russell will be replaced by Looney’s former chief of staff Emeka Emembolu. William Lin, who has been on the leadership team since 2020, will take on responsibility for gas and low carbon energy.

The changes will shrink the size of the leadership group from 11 to 10 and also reduce the number of women on the team from six under Looney to five.

Chief executive Murray Auchincloss, who was confirmed in January as Looney’s permanent replacement, said the changes would “reduce complexity within BP” and help it to deliver as a “simpler, more focused and higher value company”.

The reshuffle comes after a difficult period for the UK-listed energy major, which was rocked by Looney’s sudden resignation in September after failing to fully disclose to the board relationships he had with BP colleagues before becoming chief executive in 2020.

The Financial Times later reported that Looney had also been accused of promoting women with whom he had undisclosed past relationships.

In December, the company concluded that Looney had knowingly misled the board and sacked him without notice. The finding of “serious misconduct” meant Looney had to forfeit up to £32.4mn in pay, unvested share awards and other benefits.

Russell started at BP in 2006 and held various roles in BP’s upstream business before joining the leadership team in February 2022.

Dotzenrath started at the company in March 2022 in a high-profile appointment from RWE Renewables, where she was chief executive.

In an internal memo to staff, seen by the FT, Dotzenrath said she was retiring to spend time with her family. “After a rewarding career of over 30 years in energy, I am at a point where I need to devote more time to my family,” she wrote.

Lin, who will take over from Dotzenrath, has been at BP for 28 years and previously headed a function known as regions, corporates & solutions, which has been disbanded as part of the reshuffle.

Emembolu most recently worked as chief of staff to Looney and then Auchincloss after previously running BP’s business in the North Sea.

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