Tom Bower

The real villain of BP

John Browne transformed BP into the second biggest oil company in the world, says Tom Bower. But his obsession with cutting costs came at a terrible price

At Tony Hayward’s inquisition in Washington last week, the hapless BP chief executive resisted the temptation to condemn his predecessor, Lord Browne of Madingley, by name. Instead, pressed repeatedly to explain why BP had breached safety regulations on over 700 occasions, Hayward described 2006 as the corporation’s worst year. That was John Browne’s last full year as chief executive.

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