BP has suffered its biggest shareholder protest for at least a decade in a snub that overshadowed an emotional send-off for Lord Browne in his final AGM in charge of BP.

More than 17% of those BP investors who voted opposed a “golden goodbye” estimated by some to be worth up to £72m to the man who was until recently revered as Britain’s most admired industrialist but has fallen from favour after two years of problems in the US.

Peter Sutherland, the chairman, admitted it had been a “turbulent” year for BP but he and Lord Browne called on shareholders to look at the long term performance of the business. They said this, measured by a number of criteria including the share price, had been excellent.

“Let me say at the outset that BP is a great company. It has a great portfolio of assets and excellent people.” He also said John Browne was the greatest British businessman of his generation..

Tell that to BP’s workers in Texas and Alaska.