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    BP's Chief Resigns

    John Browne was expected to step down Aug. 1, but chose to leave post immediately after court ruling.

    LONDON -- BP Chief Executive John Browne resigned from his position, effective immediately, after a court lifted an injunction that allows information about his private life to be published by a newspaper, reported The Associated Press.

    BP's board appointed Tony Hayward, chief executive of BP's exploration and development unit, to take his place. The company previously announced Hayward was set to take over the role on Aug. 1, after Browne retired from the position he had held for a decade at the end of July.

    Since January, Browne had battled to keep details of his private life unpublished after a close relation gave an interview to Associated Newspapers, publishers of The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard.

    "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," Browne said in a written statement. "It is a matter of personal disappointment that a newspaper group has now decided that allegations about my personal life should be made public."

    He also denied any allegations made by his relation of improper conduct at BP. "The company has confirmed today that it has found no such wrongdoing," he added in a statement.

    As a result of his resignation, Browne will lose a bonus worth more than £3.5 million ($6.9 million). In addition, he will forgo inclusion in the long-term performance share plan for 2007-2009 with a maximum potential value of £12 million ($23.9 million), the AP reported.

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