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The Guardian: Letters: BP chief’s exit reveals mixed-up values

Thursday May 3, 2007

It is sad to reflect that the right to privacy, once believed to be inviolate for the rich and famous, is no longer to be enjoyed even by those who seek to keep their personal lives wholly separate from their high-profile positions at the top of the meritocratic occupational ladder. Yet even they must tell the truth to a court of law, especially if they are attempting to prevent publication of what they deem to be harmful disclosures about what they do out of office hours. Where the stark choice is between embarrassment and perjury there should be no hesitation in deciding that truth must prevail over the potential shame and ignominy of publication.
Bill Jackson
Nottingham

The real reason behind BP chief Lord Browne’s resignation is the obsession of the British media and the public with the prurient and salacious. The feeding frenzy that follows the revelation of an indiscretion by a public figure is more of a disgrace than the indiscretion itself. Lord Browne is a highly capable businessman who turned an ailing company into a world leader. It’s about time we all accepted that people are fallible, but as long as their private life does not affect how they do then job then it is no concern of anyone but themselves.
Robert Readman
Bournemouth, Dorset

Patrick Collinson is correct to say the oil industry was historically a very macho environment (Pink plateau blocks path to top for gay executives, May 2). But I think he has understated the extent to which things are gradually changing. In the 1990s Shell appointed a senior executive to a key position in Europe who was not only a woman but also a lesbian. As I recall, at the time her sexual preference of this executive was neither a secret nor an issue.
Paddy Briggs
Teddington, Middlesex

So it’s OK to be responsible for the deaths of 15 employees as a result of a lax safety culture at BP, but when you pretend that you met your boyfriend in a park it’s a resigning matter for the CEO. Why do we allow the corporate world to think these sorts of values and behaviour are correct?
Ian Reissmann
Henley, Oxfordshire

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