Browne's early exit

BP CEO John Browne bailed out of his job a few months early today, as noted in this story, after losing a battle to block a London newspaper from running a story about his private life and allegations of misusing company money.
The London-based oil giant has a booth among the thousands displaying wares and services at the massive Offshore Technology Conference in Houston this week. But don’t expect to overhear any gossip there about Browne’s exit.
“We have no comment,” Charu Malhotra, global discipline resourcing adviser for BP who was manning the booth this morning, said politely when asked about the event across the Atlantic.
Browne said in a statement that he resigned to avoid unnecessary embarrassment and distraction to the company, which has faced a string of serious problems in its last few years under his watch. More than two years ago 15 people died in an explosion at BP’s Texas City refinery. Last year the company temporarily shut down a pipeline in northern Alaska because of corrosion. Delays have postponed getting two key Gulf of Mexico oil platforms working.
Last year Browne announced he would step down at the end of 2008. In January, he moved that up a year and a half to this summer. His exit today further ended his lame-duck tenure altogether.