bp appoints Murray Auchincloss as new chief executive officer
Photo courtesy of bp

bp appoints Murray Auchincloss as new chief executive officer

The global oil and gas giant bp has appointed Murray Auchincloss as chief executive officer, elevating him from the interim CEO post held since September, the company announced on January 17.

bp said its board backed Auchincloss, a 30-year company veteran, following an extensive four-month search that examined internal and external prospects. As CEO, he will remain on the board directing bp’s transition strategy from an international oil company into an integrated energy firm.

In a statement, bp chair Helge Lund lauded the 53-year-old Auchincloss over his “assured leadership, focus on performance and delivery, and deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges” facing bp amid sweeping change.

The Scottish accountant and economist has served in various bp finance, planning and commercial roles interspersed across regional business units. His tenure includes stints as upstream chief financial officer and three years as CEO Bob Dudley’s deputy chief of staff following the Gulf of Mexico disaster.

Lund expressed full board conviction that Auchincloss “was the outstanding candidate and is the right leader for bp” in balancing its traditional oil and gas portfolio with clean energy aspirations.

Auchincloss said he felt honored to receive the appointment before reaffirming bp’s continued commitment towards becoming an “integrated energy company.” He vowed maintaining focus on safe, efficient execution that delivers value.

His appointment comes absent major strategy deviations some expected from bp’s CEO search. However, Auchincloss will likely confront intensifying shareholder pressures to accelerate emissions reduction and energy transition investment shifts faster.

Climate activists have demanded bp implement stringent short and medium-term carbon emissions cuts they argue are essential to any credible net zero by 2050 ambition. Relatedly, some investors have called for restructuring business segments to unlock value while decarbonising.

Anders Dahl, an energy analyst at stockbroker Pareto Securities, said bp’s large size prevents rapidly mirroring European oil peers that rebranded as renewables-centric energy firms. But Auchincloss must convey a credible transition plan matching rhetoric amid concerns bp continues overinvesting in oil and gas, he added.

Dahl believes Auchincloss holding Dudley’s confidence helps internally sell tricky changes like project overhauls and potential job impacts. His finance background also suits navigating bp’s debt load and avoiding risky growth investments that worsen emissions, Dahl said.

Others suggest bp’s wind, solar and electric vehicle charging acquisitions indicate strategic seriousness about meeting European market demands. They expect Auchincloss will maintain this direction while balancing the near-term reality of hydrocarbon dependence and associated returns owed shareholders.

Appointment terms include a GBP1.45 million (USD1.84 million) salary aligned to top leadership’s arrangements. Auchincloss additionally receives a 20% cash pension allowance echoing standard UK employee packages.