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BP boss quits as personal details cleared to print

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 2, 2007


London

BP PLC's chief executive, John Browne, resigned Tuesday hours after a judge cleared the way for a newspaper to publish details of his private life. The company's board appointed Tony Hayward, who had been set to take over Aug. 1, as the new chief executive, effective immediately, BP said in a statement. Browne had led Europe's second-largest energy company for more than a decade. He had announced earlier this year that he would resign at the end of July. He had been fighting since January to suppress details from an interview with a man with whom Browne had had a relationship from being published by England's Mail on Sunday newspaper. "For the past 41 years of my career at BP I have kept my private life separate from my business life. I have always regarded my sexuality as a personal matter, to be kept private, " Browne said in a statement.

New York

Production index hits 11-month high

Faster-than-expected manufacturing growth in April led to rising prices in many raw materials - metals, fuel and corn-based products - fanning worries on Tuesday that inflation would keep the Federal Reserve from lowering interest rates. The Institute for Supply Management said Tuesday that its manufacturing index hit the highest rate in 11 months and that the prices component of the index surged to its steepest since July. The manufacturing index registered 54.7 in April, above the March reading of 50.9 and Wall Street's expectation of 51. It was the highest reading since last May's 54.7. A reading above 50 indicates growth for the sector, while a reading below 50 indicates contraction.

Boston

Union reports IBM to cut 1, 300 jobs

About 1, 300 workers in IBM Corp. services operations in the United States have received notices that their jobs are slated for elimination, according to a labor group. The Alliance at IBM, a union organization affiliated with the Communication Workers of America, which is trying to organize IBM workers, said it had received information about the planned job actions from IBM employees across the United States. "It's bad, " said Lee Conrad, a member of the Alliance Governing Council in Endicott, N.Y. IBM had 355, 766 employees at the end of 2006.

Atlanta

Delta workers get $130M in payouts

A day after exiting bankruptcy protection, Delta Air Lines Inc. gave about 40, 000 employees lump-sum payouts Tuesday equal to 8 percent of their 2006 earnings. The checks for the 39, 000 noncontract employees and 1, 000 managers average $3, 250 based on the number of people receiving them and the amount distributed, which was $130-million. The cash payouts follow deep pay and benefit cuts that Delta employees were hit with during the company's 19 1/2-month restructuring, which was completed Monday. On Thursday, non-contract employees and management employees will receive equity payouts in the form of new shares in the company. Delta's new stock begins trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange the same day.