John Browne, who’s been head of oil giant BP for 41 years, abruptly resigned yesterday. Browne grew the lackluster company into the second largest oil company in the world; he also was among the first oil executives to proactively acknowledge the danger of climate change and encourage action.

The resignation came after Browne lied to a British court. A UK tabloid was about to publish an account of a long-running homosexual relationship; he sued to stop it; in the course of the lawsuit, he lied to a judge about how he met the man.

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A somewhat tragic end to a groundbreaking career.

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