BP's new generation takes control as CFO Gilvary retires

By Amanda Jordan on 1/21/2020

LONDON (Bloomberg) - BP handed more power to a new generation of executives, announcing that Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary will join his boss Bob Dudley in retiring this year.

Murray Auchincloss, currently the finance chief of BP’s oil and gas production division, will succeed Gilvary. The energy giant already announced last year that Bernard Looney, who runs that unit, will become chief executive officer at the end of March.

In a world that’s increasingly wary of fossil fuels, BP’s new top executives will have to prove the company can keep up with the times. The London-based company has a highly profitable oil and gas business that pioneered exports from the Middle East, opened up giant fields in Alaska and the U.K. North Sea, and has paid billions of dollars to shareholders.

Looney and Auchincloss will be expected to keep that business performing well, while also addressing increasing investor pressure to curb greenhouse gas emissions and lay the groundwork for the long transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy.

With Auchincloss’s “international financial and commercial experience and a deep understanding of the whole group, he will play an important role as BP continues to develop in a fast-changing energy market,” Chairman Helge Lund said.

Gilvary, 57, will step down at the end of June following a 34-year career with BP, Europe’s third-biggest oil company said Tuesday. Auchincloss, will become group CFO and join the board on July 1.

Auchincloss has served as CFO for BP’s Upstream unit since 2015. He was head of the group CEO’s office from 2010 to 2013, working directly with Dudley. From 2005 to 2007 he was CFO for BP’s North Sea business.

“It seems a natural transition,” RBC analyst Biraj Borkhataria said. “It bucks the recent trend of new management coming from the downstream businesses, however neither appointments are a surprise,” he said, referring to BP’s new CEO and CFO.

Gilvary became finance chief and joined the board in January 2012. Since then, he has managed issues including the resolution of litigation after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill that nearly bankrupted the company. He was also in the thick of reshaping BP following crude’s price crash that began in 2014.

Gilvary and Auchincloss will work together between now and the end of June to ensure an “orderly transition,” BP said in the statement.

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