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BP Chief Steps Down

Lord Browne denies any misconduct.

BP (BP) - Get BP p.l.c. Sponsored ADR Report said its CEO quit after a U.K. court cleared a British paper to report on his relationship with a Canadian man.

The courts Tuesday lifted an injunction prohibiting Associated Newspapers from publishing stories about CEO John Browne and his former partner, Jeff Chevalier. After Browne quit, London-based BP named Tony Hawyard CEO.

"Concerning the court documents disclosed today, I wish to acknowledge that I did have a four-year relationship with Jeff Chevalier who has now chosen to tell his story to Associated Newspapers, publishers of The Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday and Evening Standard," Browne said in a BP press release. "These allegations are full of misleading and erroneous claims. In particular, I deny categorically any allegations of improper conduct relating to BP."

BP said an internal probe of allegations that Browne misused company assets found the claims "were unfounded or insubstantive."

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Browne had been scheduled to stay on as CEO till the end of 2008, but in January BP said he would

accelerate his departure to July "in order to provide an orderly transition."

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