BP Honcho Outed As Gay, Steps Down

British Petroleum’s head honcho Lord John Browne has stepped down after being revealed as a homosexual. Browne fought unsuccessfully against Mail on Sunday, which planned on publishing a revealing interview with Browne’s alleged lover, Jeff Chavalier.

Britain’s High Court refused to hear his case today, thus spilling his sexual deeds into the public realm. Justice David Eady also says that Browne “chose to lie” about his relationship with Chavalier, a Canadian national, including about meeting Chavalier while cruising Battersea Park.

Browne defended this deceptive detail:

This account, prompted by my embarrassment and shock at the revelations, is a matter of deep regret. I have apologized unreservedly, and do so again today.

No amount of apologies can clean up his image after Chavalier’s allegations.

The student claims that he and Browne embarked on a four-year relationship during which the wealthy CEO showered him in luxury. Globe and Mail elaborates:

The former boyfriend also claimed that when his visa was set to expire, Lord Browne took “various steps” to keep him in the country. Those steps included paying for a university course so he could acquire a student visa, and setting up a company for him to trade in mobile phone ring-tones.

Mr. Chevalier, who had not worked for years, said he ran into financial difficulties when the four-year relationship came to an end. He says that Lord Browne then offered to help him with cash for a flat in Toronto, as well as to cover some of the furnishings.

He also claimed that Lord Browne agreed “that if needed, [he] would assist in the first year of me transitioning from living in multimillion-pound homes around the world, flying in private jets, five-star hotels, £2,000 suits, and so on to a less than modest life in Canada.”

Browne soon cut Chavalier off and that’s when he went to the papers, leading to the lawsuit that has ended in Browne’s resignation.

In his press statement, German-born Browne lamented:

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.

The move comes only four months before Browne’s set departure. His recent years have been marred by lost profits and scandal, including a Texas oil refinery explosion that killed fifteen BP employees. By stepping down, Browne forfeits his $7.7-million bonus, although he’ll still get his multi-million dollar pension. On that note, Browne insists he’s not interested in money: “[This was a] voluntary step which I am making to avoid unnecessary embarrassment and distraction to the company at this important time.”

As of this writing, BP’s American stock has fallen .04%. In Britain, it’s fallen a bit more: .44%

BP’s Browne quits over gay affair with Canadian
[Reuters Canada]
John Browne steps down abruptly from BP [IHT]

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  • jay

    With these gas prices we thought we were getting it in the ass, we just didn’t realize how true it was.

  • Dawster

    when oh when will horny old men learn??

  • v

    sounds pretty silly. surely other ceo’s have done worse publicly and privately (and illegally!) and been kept on board.

  • Sheila Levine

    This is bizarre, only because it sounds like Lord Browne is really quite entirely the victim here. From every account, it appears the “shame” being bandied about by the press is nothing more than the miniscule perjury about his sexuality to the court.

    It’s unfortunate that he was made to forfeit such a huge fortune just because the public finds being outed so shocking.

  • Confused

    “But he denied allegations of any improper conduct relating to BP.”

    Wait. So what exactly did he do wrong? It sounds like he’s stepping down cuz… he’s gay? Since when was that cause to step down? He denied any illegal allegations but felt the need to leave because he’s queer? This all makes very little sense to me…

  • Smartypants

    Sounds like internalized homophobia to me. From the accounts available it doesn’t sound like Lord Browne did anything wrong — unless you consider cutting off a gold-digging blackmailer to be wrong.

    Not that I can muster up a great deal of sympathy for a mediocre CEO of a company that has done enormous damage to the environment while reaping extortionate profits, quitting because some boytoy spills his guts to a scandal sheet seems rather silly and sad. Here’s hoping his lordship enjoys a more honest and proud retirement. And maybe do a bit to make up for all the damage BP’s done,while he’s at it.

  • Jay

    Didn’t BP have a lot of problems lately? In Alaska they had to shut down a major pipeline because they failed to properly maintain it against corrosion.

    I’ve learned that good people loose their jobs all the time while there are plenty of terrible people, like the U.S. attorney general and the head of the World Bank, who infamously deserve to be fired.

  • Musa Khan

    Browne was not “outed as gay”. People inside and outside BP knew for many years that Browne was gay – he paraded his lover at parties, went on trips with him, and had BP staff train him and even set up a company (to sell phone ringtones).

    Browne was fired because he repeatedly lied to the court about how he met his lover, as part of a concerted attempt to TRASH his lover as a drug-addled queer whose account (of how Browne misused BP funds etc.) could not be credited. Not surprisingly, the judge did not appreciate being played for a patsy. (The British judiciary is certainly not suspected of anti-gay bias.)

    This is not a “gay” story, but a traditional kiss-and-tell scandal in the wake of a lengthy affair between a rich and powerful older man and a young and pretty lover.

  • thehoodedclaw

    Smartpants, you have it wrong. This is not about Lord Browne being gay, it is about him lying in court. That is a terrible thing for any executive to do, and he should have known better.

    However, we in Britain have lost one of the most talented business leaders we have, what a shame.

    The rent boy is despicable, of course. Why don’t these old boys learn? At least he has two legs unlike another ex-prostitute I could name who likes going to the papers during a meesy breakup!

    And jay, talking about gas prices in USA and getting it in the ass, in UK (still one of the top 10 petrol producing countries) we pay £1 per litre of petrol, that is $2 per litre or $8 per gallon! We are opened wide over here!

  • Whup-Ass Master

    “Revealed” as gay? He trips my gaydar alarm at first sight. I mean really…he’s wearing a purple tie. His facial expression just screams Frieda McFruitcake.
    But who cares, really? I understand the closet, it’s the old school solution for those stuffy “Lord” types. What I don’t understand, and what diminishes him in my eyes, is the whole resigning in disgrace thing. Stay put fight, bitch!

  • CondeNasty

    It is a typical kiss and tell. The ex was cashing in after he was let go. There is no job security in being a kept boy.

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