Gates, Looney, Easterbrook -- ushered to the exit over work relationships
September 13, 2023 09:52 PM
BP's now former chief executive Bernard Looney is only the latest of a string of top business figures to be propelled through the exit door in recent years over relationships with colleagues found to be in violation of internal rules.
- Bernard Looney, BP -
BP said Tuesday that Looney was resigning with immediate effect after admitting he had not been "fully transparent" about historical relationships with colleagues.
The 53-year-old, who took up his post in 2020, said the board had reviewed allegations from an anonymous source regarding his conduct "in respect of personal relationships with company colleagues".
While he had previously disclosed "a small number of historical relationships with colleagues prior to becoming CEO" and no breach of the company's code of conduct was found, further allegations emerged and he conceded he was "not fully transparent in his previous disclosures," BP said.
- Bill Gates, Microsoft -
In May 2021, the Wall Street Journal wrote that Gates' departure from Microsoft in March 2020 was related to a relationship judged inappropriate with an employee in the early 2000s.
Gates, who founded Microsoft in 1975, said he would devote himself to his firm's foundation after stepping down as board chair of the US technology giant.
The company had found that Gates had pursued a romantic relationship with an engineer judged inappropriate after opening an investigation in 2019 following up on a written submission from the woman concerned.
- Steve Easterbrook, McDonald's -
Steve Easterbrook was ousted as CEO of McDonald's in 2019 for having a "consensual relationship" with an employee, in violation of company policy.
Easterbrook was not fired and left with a multimillion severance package but when other allegations of three other sexual relationships emerged McDonald's decided to sue to recover its $105 million.
- Brian Krzanich, Intel -
Brian Krzanich stepped down in 2018 as chief executive of US computer chip giant Intel over a "past consensual relationship" with an employee in violation with the company's non-fraternisation policy.
Intel said that an investigation had found the relationship was in violation of its 2011 statutes.
- Laurent Potdevin, Lululemon -
In 2018, Laurent Potdevin, CEO of trendy yoga clothing manufacturer Lululemon, lost his job after it was revealed he had an affair with a designer from the company. Lululemon and Potdevin entered into a separation accord and he left with a compensation deal of 33 million euros ($35 million).
- Brian Dunn, Best Buy -
In April 2012, electronics retailer BestBuy said director general Brian Dunn was resigning after coming under investigation for an "extremely close relationship" with an employee. That relationship, the company said, illustrated extremely "poor judgment and a lack of professionalism."
Dunn left Best Buy with severance of $6.6 million.
- Harry Stonecipher, Boeing -
In March 2005, Boeing CEO Harry Stonecipher, then 68, was forced to resign by the board over a relationship with vice-president Debra Peabody, two decades his junior. The relationship was found to violate the company's code of conduct.