01 May 2007 16:52 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--BP’s chief executive Lord Browne resigned on Monday after UK courts lifted a legal injunction preventing a newspaper group from publishing details of his private life.
BP said his designated successor Tony Hayward had been appointed as the group’s new CEO with immediate effect.
Browne resigned following a judge’s ruling that he had lied to the High Court about how he met his former partner Jeff Chevalier.
“Concerning the court documents disclosed today, I wish to acknowledge that I did have a four-year relationship with Jeff Chevalier who has now chosen to tell his story to Associated Newspapers, publishers of the Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard," he said in a BP press statement.
"These allegations are full of misleading and erroneous claims. In particular, I deny categorically any allegations of improper conduct relating to BP,” he added.
BP chairman Peter Sutherland said: “At John’s specific request, the board instigated a review of the evidence. That review concluded that the allegations of misuse of company assets and resources were unfounded or insubstantive.”
Browne said he would step down with immediate effect because he did not want the focus on his private life to detract from the task of running BP.
“For a chief executive who has made such an enormous contribution to this great company, it is a tragedy that he should be compelled by his sense of honour to resign in the painful circumstances,” said Mr Sutherland.
Browne steered BP to new heights including the merger with Amoco and helped turn the group’s performance around. His last months as chief executive were marred, however, by the close public scrutiny of the group’s poor safety procedures which resulted in the tragic explosion and fire at its ?xml:namespace>
Browne said the allegations made by Chevalier make misleading and erroneous claims. But the former BP CEO admitted that he had lied in initial witness statements about how he had met his former partner.
“This account, prompted by my embarrassment and shock at the revelations, is a matter of deep regret. It was retracted and corrected. I have apologised unreservedly, and do so again today.”
BP said Browne would lose an agreed entitlement and a bonus worth more than £3.5m (€5.1m/$7.0m). He would also forego inclusion in the long-term performance share plan for 2007-2009 with a maximum potential value of some £12m, it added.
In January this year, Browne announced that he would step down at the end of July.
($1 = €0.73)
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