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BP Exec Lord Browne Resigns After Gay Affair is Exposed

The Chief Executive of oil giant British Petroleum (BP), Lord Browne, has resigned from his position after losing a four month legal battle to prevent the media from publishing details about his private life which included revelations that he had a four year gay affair with a Candaian named Jeff Chevalier, and that he had given an "untruthful account" of how they met.

Lord_browneSaid Browne: "For the past 41 years of my career at BP I have kept my private life separate from my business life. I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private. It is a matter of personal disappointment that a newspaper group has now decided that allegations about my personal life should be made public."

Browne had been planning to resign at the end of July, and his decision to step down immediately will cost him dearly, according to MSNBC: "The company said Browne’s decision to resign immediately meant he would lose a bonus of up to 1.3 times his annual salary, worth in total over 3.5 million pounds ($6.9 million). He would also forgo inclusion in the long-term performance share plan for 2007-2009 with a maximum potential value of some 12 million pounds ($23.9 million)."

According to Pink News, "Lord Browne, 59, met Mr Chevalier in 2002, and over the next four years provided him with a life of luxury, including paying for his accommodation, clothing and extensive international travel. The peer also paid substantial sums of money to Mr Chevalier, and paid for a university course so that he could stay in the UK. The High Court had previously ruled in a private sitting that as Lord Browne had taken his partner to various social events, including those connected with his duties at BP, the relationship was widely known about. Lord Browne was one of the highest paid executives in the UK. In 2004 he earned over £5m. He was knighted in 1998 and created Baron Browne of Madingley in 2001."

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  1. And how was this an "affair," was he married? Couldn't this guy ride out the scandal for 2 months and cash in? Stupid, stupid, stupid!

    Posted by: 000000 | May 1, 2007 2:24:10 PM

  2. It's my understanding that Browne's departure was imminent given British Petroleum's many safety violations in recent years, including a huge explosion at a BP plant in Texas that killed 15 people. I imagine that the gay "scandal" (as if anyone in Britain is that scandalized by poofters anymore) only accelerated that process a bit.

    Posted by: Brian | May 1, 2007 2:29:41 PM

  3. Well, my understanding is that Browne allowed company resources to be used by his boyfriend for his business (although I don't know what that business is/was) and then lied about it. He also steadfastly lied about the relationship in some court matter.

    Still, I don't understand why he didn't stick it out. How many straight execs let their "partners" use company resources for one thing or another?

    This smells like there is something more to it...

    Posted by: BeeDee | May 1, 2007 2:34:08 PM

  4. Yeah, I don't get it either. As long as he was not keeping the BF in the lap of luxury on the company dime and not breaking any ethics code of conduct or terms of his employment contract....why step down now, over this?
    As a director of a mid-sized non-profit, I know the board would not care too much about the exec's private life as long as it did not involved company funds or resources etc..etc.. or was criminal.
    There must be more here to trigger this timing.

    Posted by: hoya86 | May 1, 2007 2:36:36 PM

  5. PInk News must be so proud.

    Posted by: Tom | May 1, 2007 2:49:06 PM

  6. He resigned because he lied in court about how he met Chevalier. He claimed he met him by chance; it turns out that wasn't the case.

    Anyway, the reason for his resignation isn't that he had a relationship with a mann; it's that he flat-out lied in court. He's since fessed up. It's a big deal when the head of BP, a man who had been given honors by the govt and was close to Blair, lies in court. There's no way he could have held onto his job after that. It's the lying that did him in.

    Posted by: SGR | May 1, 2007 2:49:31 PM

  7. I would have stayed for the dough. There may be more to it than meets the eye....

    Posted by: xavier | May 1, 2007 2:50:26 PM

  8. PInk News must be so proud.

    Posted by: Tom | May 1, 2007 2:51:04 PM

  9. ok, this is just stupid, i do not get it. why the hell is he resigning. what the hell is wrong with having a relationship with a man?

    is he married?
    did he employ his boyfriend in BP?
    is there any thing illegal going on?

    i do not get it.

    Posted by: johnosahon | May 1, 2007 2:53:19 PM

  10. Johnosahon: There is most likely a lot more to this story than we will most likely be told. The issue of his relationship is most likely a ruse; keep your eyes open for some other BP scandal to leak up from this (pun intended).

    Posted by: Gary | May 1, 2007 3:00:44 PM

  11. how much money does one man need anyway?

    Posted by: A.J. | May 1, 2007 3:07:20 PM

  12. The lesson here is one that most smart politicians know. If you're going to lie, the truth needs to be plausibly deniable. Don't leave a paper trail! Or a stain on a blue dress, for that matter...

    Posted by: Chris | May 1, 2007 3:08:31 PM

  13. remmeber, once you have that kind of money, the bonus may have looked like pockect change to him.

    so it may not have been as much a lure for him as it would be for me on my yearly $48k.

    Posted by: rich | May 1, 2007 3:19:09 PM

  14. Not do with him having a gay affair: SGR above has it on the nail: he purjured himself in court which is why he had to resign.

    What is the £15/$30million question: what was so shameful that he had to lie about it? I guess we only have a few more hours till the evil Daily Mail spills the beans...

    Posted by: TRICKY | May 1, 2007 3:34:43 PM

  15. The story sounds incredibly weird. And his salary sounds incredibly high. Not much sympathy here --- is his middle name McGreevy?

    Posted by: richard | May 1, 2007 3:36:58 PM

  16. What part of he lied in court do some of you still not get? Again, he didn't resign because he had a relationship with a man. Clearly his colleagues knew about his relationships with men. He brought the guy to company events. The issue isn't that he's gay, which was an open secret for years.

    The scandal may be that Chevalier was an escort (who turned into a boyfriend). That's the story the tabloids were interested in. That's why the real issue, the one that Brown lied in court about, is how they met. In court, Brown claimed it was by chance in a park. Chevalier says otherwise. It's not clear how exactly because there's a court order that says the info has to be kept secret.

    The judge didn't take it lightly when it was discovered that Brown lied about how they met. Brown tried to claim it was a "white lie," but, as the judge made clear, a lie is a lie is a lie. His credibility was shot. And that's why he had to resign.

    Posted by: SGR | May 1, 2007 3:43:12 PM

  17. Consensus here: it was a rent-boy hookup from Gaydar or the back of QX. But we will see in the morning when the papers go wild with it.

    Posted by: TRICKY | May 1, 2007 3:53:32 PM

  18. My favorite bit from Chevalier's claims: that "Lord Browne discussed EU policy and Chinese textile quotas with Peter Mandelson, the EU commissioner, and Mandelson's Brazilian boyfriend Reinaldo."

    Posted by: SGR | May 1, 2007 3:59:47 PM

  19. SGR is absolutely right. He resigned because he lied (to the court). Now that's no big deal over here with Republicans (e.g. Gonzales and Wolfowitz not to mention Bush and Cheney)but over there (in the U.K.) it's still considered a mighty big deal with zero wiggle room. He absolutely did not have to resign because he's gay; but he probably wouldn't be in the jam he is today if he had come out say ten or even five years ago.

    Maybe we'd be better off here if the U.S.A. adopted some of this "old fashioned" Brit behaviour. Maybe there's a lesson in all this for Anderson Coop.

    Posted by: badad(i)dude | May 1, 2007 4:27:37 PM

  20. Yes, the issue here is that Lord Browne made statements in legal documents which were untrue and he really should have known better not to lie to a court.

    Posted by: Leo | May 1, 2007 4:38:49 PM

  21. He is resigning because his legal case is a distraction to BP's company performance. He lied in court, which amounts to perjury (thus criminal).

    Posted by: Landis | May 1, 2007 4:48:26 PM

  22. $30 million for some anal action? Pricey.

    Posted by: Larry | May 1, 2007 5:05:36 PM

  23. This reeks of some McGreevy "I'm a gay American" -type bullshit.

    Watch and wait.

    Posted by: soulbrotha | May 1, 2007 5:09:05 PM

  24. Further to my earlier comment, a blog on the BBC is now claiming that Lord Browne met Jeff Chevalier on a "male escort website"...

    Posted by: TRICKY | May 1, 2007 5:12:33 PM

  25. From today's (May 1st) New York Times:

    It remained unclear whether Lord Browne’s departure would draw a line under his woes, or merely be the prelude to further legal action related to what Peter Wright, the editor of the Mail on Sunday, called ‘’lies” in the legal case that led to his ouster.

    So, yes, this story appears to be the tip of a big iceberg. Stay tuned.

    Posted by: PC | May 1, 2007 5:19:58 PM

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