BP vice president, 61, hanged himself at his £2million home

Newlywed BP vice president, 61, hanged himself at his £2million home a week after being made redundant, inquest hears

  • Nick Spencer, 61, was found dead at his £2million home in Buckinghamshire 
  • He spent a decade working for the oil giant BP when he was forced to leave
  • The father-of-two became depressed and worried about finances, his wife said 
  • Sitting at Beaconsfield, a Buckinghamshire coroner recorded verdict of suicide 
  • For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or click here for details 

The vice president of British Petroleum hanged himself at his £2million home a week after he was made redundant, a coroner heard today. 

Newly-married Nick Spencer, 61, was found dead at his luxury home where he lived with his wife Eve in Buckinghamshire in April.

His inquest heard he spent a decade working for the oil giant BP when he was forced to leave the firm on March 31 this year.

After he was told of the redundency the successful father-of-two became depressed and worried about managing his finances, Eve told the coroner.

In a statement she said: ‘Since he was made redundant he had been depressed. 

Newly-married Nick Spencer (pictured), 61, was found dead at his luxury home where he lived with his wife Eve in Buckinghamshire in April

His inquest heard he spent a decade working for the oil giant BP when he was forced to leave the firm on March 31 this year. Pictured, his home in Buckinghamshire

‘He had been looking for a new job and I felt he seemed positive but there was an oil crisis because of Covid-19 and he was worried about remortgaging the house and the finances.

‘In the period leading up to his death, he seemed a bit more down and it was the 12th anniversary of a family bereavement. 

The successful father-of-two (pictured) became depressed

‘On the evening before his death, we watched the news and went to bed. We talked about TV and he came to bed at 2am which was unusually late.

‘At 6.40am on April 7 he got up. He was normally an early riser and I went back to sleep. I later went into the study and saw the letters he had written. I opened the one addressed to me and called the police, I was very worried.’

The first police officer to arrive at the home in Beaconsfield, Bucks., discovered Mr Spencer hanged in the house’s garage. Eve identified the body as her husband at 10.30am.

Pathologist Dr Steven Corrigan confirmed the cause of death as hanging.

After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1999, Mr Spencer became a general manager at European Refining, directing three refineries across Europe. 

He went on to work at ConocoPhillips for the next seven years, tasked with establishing the business in the MENA region.

In October 2009, he joined British Petroleum (BP) as a business unit leader working for the next five years at the largest refinery in the US. 

Following his huge success, he was selected as Vice President of Global Refining in November 2014 where he led 7,500 employees with a gross margin of $6 billion.

He stayed in this position until he was made redundant in March this year.

After graduating from Harvard Business School in 1999, Mr Spencer (pictured making a chocolate cake to celebrate the completion of a project) became a general manager at European Refining, directing three refineries across Europe

In a report to the inquest a psychiatrist confirmed seeing Mr Spencer on January 18 where he referenced his employment coming to an end, stated he had had suicidal thoughts for a while and even had a specific plan in mind.

‘He spoke about the symptoms of his redundancy, building up regrets and thoughts of his children. He talked about the cost of pain caused by some of his actions. 

‘I felt the protective element in terms of his family prevented him from actioning any thoughts of suicide,’ the psychiatrist added.

After the appointment in January, Mr Spencer refused to follow up and cancelled his arranged appointments.

Sitting at Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire coroner Crispin Butler said: ‘Many weeks had passed but all through that period of the job coming to an end was the reality of that.

Mr Spencer is pictured with Olympic Long Jump record holder, Bob Beamon. In October 2009, he joined British Petroleum (BP) as a business unit leader working for the next five years at the largest refinery in the US

‘Saying goodbye to people he worked with but not in the way in which one hoped because he couldn’t have a leaving party and the physical element of having his IT equipment taken from his home address, had affected him.

‘It seems his depressive illness, loss of work, his personality, uncertainty about finances, remortgaging, an element of social anxiety and a life long privacy all affected him.

‘The changes to Nick’s life were reinforced in the notes that he wrote. It was not something he had done to demonstrate he was calling out for help, it was his decision. One can see the evolution of the processes as he reacted to the ending of his job.’

He recorded a verdict of suicide at the inquest which was attended by Mr Spencer’s devastated sons Robert and Richard Spencer.

After Mr Spencer lost his job he worried he would no longer be able to afford his £2million Buckinghamshire home (pictured)

Dozens of online tributes poured in for the oil expert from past colleagues who remembered his ‘calm’ nature fondly.

One of them, Mark Taylor, said in his posting: ‘Nick recruited me into BP in 2010 and gave me huge support, capacity and accountability to deliver the different components of the project.

‘Nick’s personal contribution, leadership and calm shone through every day and without which the project could not have been delivered. I will forever remember your calmness and steely resolve with accompanying sense of humour and fun.’

John Finnegan wrote: ‘It was my pleasure to know and work for Nick. From our time at the Lake Charles Refinery to Ponca City to Humber, Nick was the kind of leader everyone would want to work for. 

‘If you did get to work for Nick, he would be your teacher, mentor and friend. It was his kindness that I remember most.’

Bob Allendorfer added: ‘Having had the pleasure of working with and for Nick for the better part of the last 10 years, I look back on our time together with fond memories and will carry it forward for many years to come.

‘Nick’s calm, systematic, longer-term approach provided much needed balance in turbulent times and has been deeply appreciated by me and many others. 

‘It is clear to see where Nick has made his mark on our businesses and, more importantly, his lasting impact on those who lead it. Eve, Richard and Robert – my heart goes out to you. Nick was a good man.’

MailOnline has contacted BP for comment. 

For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or click here for details 

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