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Published by:
Copenhagen Business School (CBS) (2014)
26 pages
Data source:
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The case deals with the rather tumultuous executive leadership changes of British Petroleum (BP) over the past decade from 2005 to 2014 in the wake of two dramatic incidents: The Texas City refinery explosion in 2005 and the explosion of the oil rig Deepwater Horizon in the Mexican Gulf in 2010. The company started with a venturous search for oil in Iran in the early 1900s to eventually become a multinational oil and gas conglomerate among the world’s largest energy companies. The company grew by developing oil fields around the world including demanding locations like Alaska, the North Sea and the Mexican Gulf and pursuing an ambitious acquisition strategy soaking up significant assets and brands in North America and elsewhere. The case describes the circumstances around the incidents that triggered the executive changes and considers the economic and environmental effects of prevailing policy guidelines and governance practices. The case captures the intricacies of corporate management and provides a realistic overview of the complexities that often surround leadership approaches and executive decisions. Hence, it can be used in various graduate and executive courses in strategic management, leadership development and corporate governance that all grapple with issues of responsible ethical behaviour. This case is part of the CBS free case collection (visit www.thecasecentre.org/CBSfreecases for more information on the collection).


BP; Energy industry; Risk management; Competitive dynamics; Corporate culture; Corporate governance; Environmental policies; Mergers & acquisitions (M&A); Organisational change; Social responsibility; Stakeholder management; Strategy execution; Value-based management


The events covered by this item took place in 2005-2013.

Geographical setting

United States
Texas City; Gulf of Mexico

Featured company

Company name:
British Petroleum (BP)
Energy, oil

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