McKillop quits as director of BP as controversy over RBS role continues

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Sir Tom McKillop, the embattled former chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland, resigned as a director of the energy giant BP yesterday, despite previously putting his name forward for re-election at the group's annual general meeting on 16 April.

BP issued a statement yesterday saying that Sir Tom, a former chief executive of the pharmaceutical group AstraZeneca, wished to resign from his £95,000 a year, part-time non-executive directorship, and would therefore not seek election later this month. A spokesman for BP insisted that the decision was Sir Tom's, despite the sudden change of heart.

BP's chairman, Sir Peter Sutherland, who is also a former non-executive of RBS, said: "It is a matter of great regret that Sir Tom has chosen to retire. He is a colleague of the highest integrity and he has been an outstanding director of BP since he joined our board in 2004."

Sir Tom's presence on the board was potentially embarrassing for the company, however. He is embroiled in a number of rows connected to his role as chairman of RBS, and his apparent lack of action to stop the bank overstretching itself in the months leading to it being part-nationalised by the Government. His membership of BP's remuneration committee was also problematic since he is blamed in some quarters for allowing RBS's former chief executive Sir Fred Goodwin to secure a £703,000-a-year pension, despite steering the bank to near collapse.

On Tuesday, Sir Tom wrote a letter to the Treasury Select Committee insisting that the City minister, Lord Myners, knew about the scale of Sir Fred's £17m pension pot, which he received in return for agreeing to retire early when the Government stepped in to save RBS from collapse in October. In the letter, Sir Tom said that the minister's comments to the select committee that he did not know about the scale of the arrangement with Sir Fred needed "clarification".

A source at BP said yesterday that Sir Tom's decision to resign was linked to him having "rather a lot on his plate".