John Browne and Being a Closet Executive

It’s been 7 years since John Browne stepped down as BP’s Chief Executive when controversies over his sexuality mounted coupled with accusations on the misuse of company funds. And in case you didn’t know, Browne actually resigned after the court found out that he committed perjury regarding his alleged lover.

Well, as we now know, John Browne became the first C-Level executive to admit being gay. And, probably the last one until views on sexuality becomes more favorable to them.

Then again, what’s wrong with being gay? Isn’t the bottom line more important?

Obviously, the concern would be on the usage of company resources. Like, since gays more often than not provide for their lovers – from money to what have you – this could spell disaster if that individual is your executive.

Yet a critical factor that’s often overlooked, would be on a gay’s ability to handle pressure as well as some form of “man power” in his dealings. Would he just succumb during debates, negotiations or something like that? Companies definitely do not want a “weak” leader for that matter.

Then again, there is this bottom line to prove one’s ability even as a gay, right? More so, and more often than not, it’s not really the gays who plunders and blunders but men.

The key then to this stereotyping of sorts would be for gays to come out in the open. But wait. With the current attitude on an executive’s sexuality, that would be career suicide.

So then scan your options. Look for open-minded companies first as your employment priority, they’d understand what’s more important. Otherwise, if you’re already employed, try to come out sooner than later – people have rights besides your performance would show your value, so who cares.

By the way, John Browne has successfully moved on and is currently the Managing Director and Managing Partner (Europe) of Riverstone Holdings LLC.

What’s your take?