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BP Enforces Stricter Workplace Relationship Disclosure Rules

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BP plc (BP - Free Report) has introduced a stringent update to its workplace relationships policy, mandating the disclosure of intimate relationships among employees or risk potential dismissal, per a Reuters report. This move was made after the high-profile departure of former CEO Bernard Looney.

Per the report, in an email memo to staff, BP outlined the new conflicts of interest policy, which prohibits employees from managing relatives or those with whom they are in an intimate relationship. This update, part of BP’s code of conduct, highlights the lasting impact of Looney's departure on the company’s operations and culture.

According to the memo, senior leaders within BP are now required to declare any intimate relationships with employees or agency workers from the past three years. The company has provided a three-month grace period, ending on Sep 1, to make these disclosures.

BP emphasized that non-compliance with the updated policy could result in disciplinary actions, including termination of employment. This marks a significant shift from the previous policy, where employees were required to disclose only those relationships that they believed would cause a conflict of interest.

In a statement to Reuters, BP confirmed the policy update, stating that the employees are now required to disclose intimate relationships at work, whether or not they feel they represent a conflict of interest.

The investigation into Bernard Looney’s conduct, carried out with the assistance of the law firm Freshfields, was concluded earlier this year. However, BP has not disclosed its findings or conclusions yet.

Looney’s departure in last December was followed by the clawback of up to $40 million of his remuneration. The departure was led by the board’s investigation of similar accusations against him in May 2022, following which he assured of his previous and future actions.

New CEO Murray Auchincloss, who assumed the role in January, aims to stabilize the company by promising increased returns. Notably, Auchincloss had disclosed his relationship with a BP employee before becoming the chief financial officer in 2020, adhering to the company's policies.

This policy revision is a testament to BP's commitment to maintaining transparency and ethical conduct within its ranks, striving to prevent conflicts of interest and uphold integrity in the workplace.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

BP currently carries a Zack Rank #3 (Hold).

Investors interested in the energy sector may look at some better-ranked stocks like Archrock Inc. (AROC - Free Report) , Sunoco LP (SUN - Free Report) and SM Energy Company (SM - Free Report) , each currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Archrock is an energy infrastructure company based in the United States, with a focus on midstream natural gas compression. It provides natural gas contract compression services and generates stable fee-based revenues.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AROC’s 2024 EPS is pegged at $1.07. The company has a Zacks Style Score of A for Growth. It has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2024 and 2025 in the past 60 days.

Sunoco is a leading wholesale motor fuel distributor in the United States, boasting a vast distribution network spanning 40 states. With long-term contracts servicing more than 10,000 convenience stores, it distributes over 10 fuel brands, ensuring a stable revenue stream. SUN currently has a Value Score of A.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2024 and 2025 earnings per unit is pegged at $7.29 and $7.17, respectively. The partnership has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2024 and 2025 in the past seven days.

SM Energy is set to expand its oil-centered operations in the coming years, with an increasing focus on crude oil, especially in the Permian Basin and Eagle Ford regions. The company’s attractive oil and gas investments should create long-term value for shareholders.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SM’s 2024 EPS is pegged at $6.63. The company has a Zacks Style Score of A for Value. It has witnessed upward earnings estimate revisions for 2024 and 2025 in the past 30 days.

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