Energy bank Simmons cuts ties to outspoken founder

* Comes one week after founder gave dire BP warning

* Simmons & Co feels founder’s views have diverged from it

HOUSTON, June 16 (Reuters) - Outspoken energy investment banker Matthew Simmons is relinquishing his last ties to the energy-focused firm he founded, Simmons & Co International said on Wednesday.

Just a week after he predicted the bankruptcy of BP Plc BP.L, Simmons & Co said its founder would retire as chairman emeritus on June 30 and devote his full focus to the Ocean Energy Institute, a think-tank and venture capital fund he started in 2007.

“Since founding Simmons & Company International 36 years ago, I have truly enjoyed being a part of the firm’s growth and success,” Simmons said in a statement.

Also in the statement, Simmons & Co Chief Executive Mike Frazier expressed deep gratitude to Simmons for his leadership and wished him well.

But on May 12, Frazier issued a statement reminding the industry and the firm’s clients that the former chairman’s views were separate and distinct from those of Simmons & Co, citing his comments on the BP well blowout as well as his views on the productivity of the North American oil and gas resources.

“While our respective views, historically, have often been in harmony, over the past year they have significantly diverged on some important fronts,” Frazier added in the May statement, which is posted on the investment bank’s website.

Last Wednesday, BP shares tumbled to a 14-year low in New York trading, weighed down by a report in Fortune magazine quoting Matthew Simmons as saying the British company had a month before it would file for bankruptcy. [ID:nN09594681] (Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco and Kristen Hays in Houston; editing by John Wallace)