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]