Lord John Browne, until last week the chief executive of the UK’s largest company, has resigned a lucrative directorship.
Yesterday Goldman Sachs Group, a Wall Street Investment bank, announced that Lord Browne had quit from the board.
He had been a director of GS since the bank went public in 1999.
The Mail on Sunday newspaper was responsible for exposing that Lord Browne, former chief executive of BP, lied in court documents about where he met his former lover, Jeff Chevalier.
A former executive at Goldman said yesterday told the Daily Telegraph that there is: “enormous sympathy for his [Lord Browne’s] personal misery, but from a corporate governance perspective he had to go.
“Goldman demands decency, honesty and truthfulness. You can’t have one rule for the executives and one rule for the rest of the staff.”
In a legal proceeding trying to stop Mr Chevalier’s kiss-and-tell story from being published, the peer said in written submissions that they met in Battersea Park.
He lost his attempt to gag Mr Chevalier, with whom he had a four-year relationship. He resigned from BP when it emerged that he had lied to the court.
Lord Browne in fact first met Mr Chevalier through an online escort agency. His resignation triggered discussion about life for gay people in business and claims that a “pink plateau” holds back LGB employees.
There is some speculation that Lord Browne, one of the most formidable and successful businessmen in the country, may turn his talents to fundraising or charity work.
Lord Browne, who joined BP as a trainee in 1966, said his concern for the company’s reputation was the reason he decided to retire immediately.
In the company’s 2006 sustainability report which came to the attention of the press yesterday, Lord Browne wrote in his introduction:
“Great companies will only succeed if they are free of prejudice and bigotry that can limit the development of individuals on the basis of, for example, gender, nationality, race, sexual orientation or age.”