Lord Browne is one of the UK's best and brightest businessmen
Lord Browne is credited with having turned around the fortunes of BP, transforming it from a struggling oil company into one of the world's most successful - and profitable - energy firms.
The son of a British Army officer and Hungarian Auschwitz survivor, the then Mr John Browne joined BP as an apprentice in 1966.
He rose steadily through the company, becoming an executive director in 1991, and then chief executive four years later in 1995.
He led BP on a steady expansion trail, pushing into the United States, including a merger with American firm Amoco in 1998, and subsequent takeovers of Arco and Castrol.
That same year he was knighted for services to industry, and later became a Lord in 2001.
His interests were said to include fine cigars, antique furniture and the arts.
Poor safety culture
Lord Browne continued to drive record profits at BP, becoming one of the best-paid UK executives. His annual remuneration was £5.7m in 2004.
In addition to the top job at BP, Lord Browne holds a number of non-executive directorships at firms including Intel and Goldman Sachs.
In the last spell of his tenure, Lord Browne had to steer BP through a catalogue of problems including the death of workers in an explosion at the company's Texas City refinery and the closure of the Prudhoe Bay oilfield in Alaska.
Lord Browne was supposed to retire from the role of chief executive in 2008, but the date was brought forward to July 2007 to ensure "an orderly transition", the company said.
In March 2007, US government investigators published a report that was highly critical of the company's safety culture.
However, on 1 May he resigned abruptly after losing a court case that allowed Associated Newspapers to publish details of his private life.
In a personal statement Lord Browne admitted that he had been "untruthful" in court documents about details of his four-year relationship with a former boyfriend, Jeff Chevalier.
"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," Lord Browne said in a statement.
BP said it had accepted Lord Browne's resignation with "deepest regret".
Company chairman Peter Sutherland said that a review into allegations that company assets and resources had been abused were "unfounded or insubstantive".