BP chief's pay packet cut in wake of Covid-19 outbreak

The boss of BP, Bernard Looney, will take home the oil company’s smallest chief executive pay packet in almost two decades after the company cut all bonus payouts in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Looney will receive £1.735m ($2.4m) for the year after taking up the role of chief executive in February 2020, weeks before major economies across Europe were forced to shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.

The new boss and BP’s chairman, Helge Lund, donated 20% of their salaries from April 2020 to charities dealing with mental health issues to recognise the psychological toll the pandemic has taken in 2020. Looney also directed the company to make “a substantial donation” to the UK mental health charity Mind.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed that Looney’s total remuneration package was the smallest for a BP chief executive in at least 18 years.

Covid-19 lead the company to scrap bonus pay for its executives for the first time since 2010, when a deadly explosion at BP’s Macondo oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico triggered one of the worst marine oil spills in history.

The pandemic triggered an unprecedented collapse in demand for transport fuels. The crisis forced the company to a $5.7bn loss, its first in a decade, and slashed the value of its oil and gas assets by nearly $20bn.

Looney also announced plans to lay off about 15% of BP’s workforce, or 10,000 staff, and cut the company’s dividend in half for the first time since the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

He said the company’s staff responded to the “brutal conditions” of 2020 with “heroic efforts” while the company prepares to shift its business towards cleaner sources and become a carbon neutral company by 2050.

The global slump in demand for oil and gas caused BP’s greenhouse gas emissions to fall by 10% to about 374m tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent last year. The figure includes the emissions from its fossil fuel production and the emissions caused when customers use the fuel.

BP’s nearest rival Royal Dutch Shell emitted almost four times as much planet-heating emissions last year. It produced 1.38bn tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent from its own operations and the oil products it sells.


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