The head of BP has been publicly outed and subsequently resigned after he apparently lied about a relationship with a younger man.
Lord John Browne (59), the chief executive of the petroleum multinational, resigned on Tuesday after a judge said that a British newspaper – The Mail on Sunday – would be allowed to publish information about his relationship with former partner Jeff Chevalier (27). Chevalier had sold his story to the newspaper.
Browne, who attempted to stop details of the relationship from being published through the courts, has admitted that he lied to the High Court about how he met Chevalier.
He has also been accused of misconduct by inappropriately giving his former boyfriend the use of a BP computer and staff resources to help him set up company.
It’s been further said that he attempted to “trash” Chevalier’s reputation by claiming, after the two broke up, that he was an alcoholic and that he used drugs.
While the BP board concluded that the allegations of misuse of company assets and resources “were unfounded or insubstantive,” Browne said that he was nevertheless resigning to “avoid unnecessary embarrassment and distraction to the company at this important time.”
He said that the allegations were “full of misleading and erroneous claims,” admitting that, “My initial witness statements, however, contained an untruthful account about how I first met Jeff. This is a matter of deep regret… It was retracted and corrected.”
He added that, “I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private… It is a matter of deep disappointment that a newspaper group has now decided that allegations about my personal life should be made public.”
While the judge decided not charge Browne with perjury for lying on the stand, the Mail on Sunday says that it will push the Crown Prosecution Service to charge him with the crime. The newspaper is apparently submitting further information to the authorities on the case.
Browne was knighted in 1998 and is a leading figure in business in the UK with close links to the Tony Blair government. He has worked for BP for 41 years and was set to resign at the end of July. It has been speculated that he will lose up to Â£15.5 million due to his early resignation from the company.