If, as seems likely, Lord (John) Browne of Madingley announces today that he will retire when he reaches 60 in February 2008 it will be another victory for grey men who think up the "corporate governance" rules that ham-string so many British boardrooms.
It will put Lord Browne in the same boat as another pre-eminent industrialist of the age, Dr Helmut Panke, whose desire to stay on as chief executive of BMW beyond the same statutory retirement age has been so airly dismissed by his board.
Both men have helped to steer their companies through the shoals of world trade to positions of supremacy and high profitability.
Neither seems to be running out of steam nor holding out his hand for his bus pass.
Both would love to stay on and enjoy their golden years for a bit longer. Lord Browne accumulated vast experience in the 30 years he spent at BP before being made chief executive in 1995.
Since then the group has cemented its position as one of Britain's truly global enterprises, employing nearly 100,000 people and notching up billions of pounds in profit every year.
Lord Browne himself has grown to become a truly global figure in the volatile world of oil and is regarded as one of the few men who both under-stands and can deal with Russia, which, under Vladimir Putin, is leveraging its huge reserves to replace the military and political clout it lost with the collapse of Communism.
Does BP really want to see him go prematurely?
Reports surfaced in the City at the weekend that Lord Browne is being elbowed out by BP chairman Sir Peter Sutherland who, ironically, has dispensation to stay on to 2008 when he will be 62.
The group's spin doctors denied the suggestion - but they would, wouldn't they?
The alternative would be to admit that Sir Peter is a bit of a hypocrite. Royal Dutch Shell, BP's Anglo-Dutch rival, certainly isn't kowtowing to the youth cult that deems you're over the hill at 60.
It is allowing its chief executive, Jeroen van der Veer, to stay on beyond the three score years limit. The phrase "60 is the new 50" has become a cliche, but cliches at least have the virtue of being true.
Lord Browne has the vitality, energy and dynamism of a man at least ten years younger, as does BMW's Dr Panke - as anyone who saw him addressing the world's motoring press in searing heat at the British International Motor Show last week will attest.
To show such men the door simply because they have reached a preordained age limit is simply bad business.
In Dr Panke's case the decision has been made. The BP board has a chance to scrap this daft rule.
Finally, who said this? "When did you last hear 'old' used as a positive attribute for anything other than works of art or a bottle of alcohol? This is an issue of prejudice against individual men and women whose active, useful lives are brought to a premature, and wholly unnecessary end.
"The waste is shocking and the prejudice is intolerable."
Take a bow, Lord Browne of Madingley.