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.”

Comments

  1. 000000 says

    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!

  2. Brian says

    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.

  3. BeeDee says

    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…

  4. hoya86 says

    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.

  5. SGR says

    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.

  6. xavier says

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

  7. johnosahon says

    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.

  8. Gary says

    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).

  9. Chris says

    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…

  10. rich says

    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.

  11. says

    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…

  12. richard says

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

  13. SGR says

    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.

  14. says

    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.

  15. SGR says

    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.”

  16. badad(i)dude says

    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.

  17. Leo says

    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.

  18. Landis says

    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).

  19. soulbrotha says

    This reeks of some McGreevy “I’m a gay American” -type bullshit.

    Watch and wait.

  20. PC says

    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.

  21. mdc says

    The Guardian just posted an interesting related article “Out in the Macho World of Oil.” At the end they write it’s getting a tiny bit better, but just a tiny bit.

    The other problem for Browne is he made numerous (apparently false) allegations in court about his ex involving drinking and drugs, etc., which he couldn’t prove. Hard to pick someone to sympathize with, since Chevalier’s the one selling his story to a homophobic paper.

    Hate to seem shallow, but I guess we’ll have to wait until tomorrow until the Mail prints Chevalier’s picture? And no one even mentions his age.

  22. says

    I imagine his being outed would not go down well with the company’s business partners in the Middle East.

  23. says

    MDC: if Lord Browne paid for Jeff C’s education, he must now be around 24 or 25? Also, confess that, somewhat shallowly, I am looking forward to seeing the photos.

    Shame on him for picking the Mail. Ugh.

  24. patrick m says

    Browne is notorious, and his sexuality has been an open secret for a long while – he brought dates to events all over London, and even lived next door to a long time lover who was an investment banker. The oil business took it in its stride – he was known also for being surrounded by “Brown’s boys” who were part of his cadre of assistants at work. It’s a shame that he wasn’t able to be as upfront about this relationship in court – very Clintonesque

  25. BeeDee says

    All thus fuss over perjury based on misrepresenting how he met the boyfriend? Nope. Execs and Gov officials make those kinds of “missteps” all the time and they are overlooked. Especially in the corporate arena, this would be the deal breaker. There is something else going on…

  26. joshua says

    Lord Brown was already going because of BP’s oil spills and the death of oil workers a few months back. The goverment investigation of the reasons for all the problems at BP was just finished and there is a leak saying that it all happened because of cut backs in safety and regulations by Brown’s order. This would make him a magnet for a huge amount of law suits seeking damages…..so, he had to go NOW. You can be sure that BP has already been paid more money than he is losing by leaving early, under the table.
    The lies in court, while serious in the UK….are not the only reason for his abrupt departure.

    Something a lot of people don’t realize is, it’s not always the affair that is the problem, it’s the lies in legal documents or in a court that can get you. Clinton wasn’t impeached because of blow jobs in the ovel office, but because he lied, not once, but twice in sworn court depositions and under oath. It’s why he eventually was disbared from practising Law.

  27. says

    “Lord Brown was already going because of BP’s oil spills and the death of oil workers a few months back.”

    Therefore the rent boy story makes him look good.

  28. JT says

    SGR: Thanks for the link to the Daily Mail and the photo. Mr. Chevalier is pretty cute, I think. To throw a totally new topic out, the article referred to Mr. Chevalier as Lord Browne’s “then gay lover.” So does that mean that Mr. Chevalier could be popping Lord Browne’s cork in a not gay way or that Mr. Chevalier was once gay and isn’t any longer? I’m being snarky about that grammar because I’m sick of “gay marriage” “gay lover” “gay this-or-that.” A lover is a lover, a marriage is a marriage and a this-or-that…you get it.

  29. Alex says

    To Sgr

    Usually the Husbands leave the ladies and go to the Cigar room when discussing trade policy.

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