Lord Browne, who helmed energy giant BP during its “golden period of expansion and diversification,” has called on more business leaders to be open about their sexuality.

The 69-year-old Browne resigned from BP in 2007 amid accusations of perjury that revealed he's gay.

In an interview with the BBC, Browne, who concealed his sexuality while at BP, said that it was important for gay people to have role models “at the top levels of business.”

“People join businesses when they see people like themselves doing well,” Browne said. “So if a gay person comes into business and sees no gay people at the top levels of business, they will probably go elsewhere.”

“We need more of those role models,” he continued. “More people to come out, more people to be successful and to be openly gay as well.”

“Ten years ago I thought [publicly discussing my sexuality] would be out of the question,” Browne added.