PETROLEUM EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR 1997
Group Chief Executive (The British Petroleum Company, plc)
Lord John Browne was singled out by his peers for his vision in restructuring BP and making it one of the most profitable companies in the world. Those nominating him emphasized the visionary way in which he has shaped BP through pioneering its downstream alliance in Europe with Mobil Corp.; seeking innovative ways to apply finance and technology, notably in the development of new frontier oil provinces in Colombia and west of Shetland Islands; and for successfully managing risk in newly opened regions, including Algeria and the Caspian.
Lord Browne joined BP in 1966 as an apprentice, before receiving degrees from Cambridge University in Physics and from Stanford University in Business. He focused initially on exploration and production, working at BP's major facilities in Alaska, as well as elsewhere in the US, Canada, and the UK between 1969 and 1983, when he became Group Treasurer and Chief Executive of BP Finance International.
Lord Browne was rapidly promoted through the BP system. In April 1986, he became Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of the Standard Oil Co., following BP's 100% takeover of this US affiliate. He returned to London in 1989 as Managing Director and member of BP's Board of Directors in 1991, and Group Chief Executive on July 1, 1995.