I’m living proof not all office romances are ‘inappropriate’

The BP boss who quit over a ‘small number’ of office liaisons shows how the rules of workplace romance has changed, writes Rowan Pelling – but not necessarily for the better. And here’s why…

Thursday 14 September 2023 08:45 BST
Look away, or I’ll call HR
Look away, or I’ll call HR (Getty Images/iStockphoto/Aleksei Morozov)

Should BP be renamed “Boardroom Passions”? After four years at the helm of the oil giant, 53-year-old Bernard Looney has resigned after it became clear he had enjoyed a number of relationships with colleagues – rather more than the “small number of historical relationships” to which he had admitted during an official internal investigation last year.

When this story first broke, those of an infantile mindset (guilty as charged…) will have summoned visual metaphors involving giant drilling rigs, spurting oil geysers, perhaps even Daniel Day-Lewis being cast to play Looney in the film version, There Will Be a Non-Disclosure Agreement…

But this also serves to remind us all that attitudes towards office dating have changed considerably over the past three decades.

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