BP CEO Looney receives $2.4 million in 2020 after bonuses binned

FILE PHOTO: BP's new Chief Executive Bernard Looney gives a speech in central London
FILE PHOTO: BP's new Chief Executive Bernard Looney gives a speech in central London, Britain February 12, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

March 22, 2021

By Ron Bousso

LONDON (Reuters) – BP Chief Executive Bernard Looney’s remuneration was 1.735 million pounds ($2.4 million) in 2020 after it scrapped all bonuses during his first year in office due to the pandemic, the energy group said in its annual report.

Looney’s pay included 1.18 million pounds in salary and 351 million pounds in shares, while he and BP Chairman Helge Lund agreed to give 20% of their salaries to mental health charities in recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By comparison, BP’s competitor the overall pay package of Royal Dutch Shell CEO Ben van Beurden’s dropped by 42% to $7 million in 2020.

Looney’s total remuneration for 2020 could have been up to 11 million pounds ($15.24 million) based on BP’s remuneration plan, more than the $13.23 million his predecessor Bob Dudley, who stepped down in February 2020, earned in 2019.

But the 50-year-old Irishman’s first year was dominated by BP’s response to the coronavirus crisis, with BP plunging to a $5.7 billion loss, its first in a decade, as energy demand tanked and it slashed the value of its oil and gas assets by nearly $20 billion. It also halved its dividend.

Looney took office with an ambitious plan to rapidly grow BP’s renewables energy business, while cutting oil output by 40% by 2030.

This “reinvention” plan included a major overhaul and laying off 10,000 employees, roughly 15% of BP’s workforce.

This year BP is launching its first share award scheme to rally its more than 60,000 employees and also expects to resume bonuses.

Looney’s new strategy was met coolly by investors, with BP’s shares hitting their lowest since the mid-1990s late last year, a bigger fall than any of its rivals.

BP’s shares have nevertheless gained nearly 20% so far this year, lifted by stronger oil prices.

($1 = 0.7216 pounds)

(Reporting by Ron Bousso; Editing by Alexander Smith)