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BP has named Kate Thomson as interim chief financial officer, following last week’s management upheaval prompted by the sudden resignation of chief executive Bernard Looney.
Looney quit after admitting he had failed to disclose the extent of past personal relationships with colleagues. He was replaced on an interim basis by chief financial officer Murray Auchincloss.
On Tuesday the oil major said that Thomson, who has been with the company for 19 years and has held a number of senior financial positions, would replace Auchincloss in the finance job, also on an interim basis.
Auchincloss said that Thomson “brings deep technical knowledge together with a detailed understanding of BP, and has a first-class track record of leadership across our finance function”.
Thomson is BP’s senior vice-president, finance for production & operations, having previously been group treasurer and group head of tax.
BP has given few details about the selection process for Looney’s permanent replacement. The company’s chair, Helge Lund has told investors that he will not take the CEO job.
The company is looking at internal and external candidates. While Lund has indicated that he expects the company’s strategy to remain intact under new leadership, investors are watching to see if BP’s more aggressive push than rivals into renewable energy is sustained.
Shares in BP, which broadly lagged behind peers during Looney’s time at the helm, have risen since his departure was announced, and were up another 1 per cent on Tuesday.
Energy company stocks have been bolstered in part by a rising oil price, with Brent crude surpassing $95 a barrel for the first time this year on Tuesday.
Rising prices and the broader fuel crisis sparked by Russia’s reduction in gas supplies to Europe has created additional tensions in a sector struggling to figure out how to best navigate the energy transition.
While the International Energy Agency has said it expects global oil, gas and coal demand to all peak before the end of this decade, some of the world’s largest oil producers have pushed back and warned the sector still needs investment.
Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and the head of its state oil company Saudi Aramco both warned on Tuesday that forecasts for peak oil demand were misguided.
Speaking at the same conference in Calgary, ExxonMobil chief executive Darren Woods cautioned that there would not be a sudden shift away from fossil fuels and that investment had to be sustained in the industry.
BP in February scaled back plans to cut its oil and gas production by 2030, reducing the expected fall to 25 per cent over the decade from 40 per cent previously, while also increasing the amount it will invest in the transition.