It may not be such a happy retirement for Lord Browne. His former employer, BP has frozen payments worth more than £1.5m owed to him, while a court case is resolved.

John Manzoni, the outgoing head of BP’s refining operations, is also having payments worth nearly £500,000 suspended.The court case has been brought in Alaska by a group of shareholders who accuse the oil giant of mismanagement. They are seeking unspecified damages from 39 current and former BP executives and directors.

The lawsuit claims that management failures led to the huge oil spill at Prudhoe Bay in Alaska, and the fatal explosion at the Texas City refinery, in which 15 people died.

The shareholders asked BP to freeze the payments as otherwise it could have been difficult to recover money from Lord Browne and Mr Manzoni, in the event of success in the courts. BP has voluntarily suspended the payments to both men for 60 days. “That should be enough time for the case to be concluded”, said a spokesperson.

Don’t worry Sir John will still have enough money in the bank to go on his summer hols..