John Browne has resigned as chief executive of BP Plc, London, (London, NYSE: BP) following the release of a news article that concerns his private life.

Tony Hayward has been named CEO. He was chief executive of E&P and was set to take the position Aug. 1 when Browne had planned to retire.

Browne says, “In my 41 years with 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 deep disappointment that a newspaper group has now
decided that allegations about my personal life should be made public.”

Browne adds, “These allegations are full of misleading and erroneous claims. In particular, I deny categorically any allegations of improper conduct relating to BP.”

Due to Browne’s decision to leave his position early, he forfeits his right to a bonus of up to 1.3 times his annual salary, worth in total more than US$7 million.