Philip Green is ‘worse than Robert Maxwell’, says select committee chair
The shamed business boss was also compared to Napoleon.
Sir Philip Green has been slammed in a damning joint report by two select committees which lays the blame for the collapse of BHS squarely at his door.
The billionaire former owner of BHS extracted large sums and left the business on "life support", according to the report by the business, innovation and skills committee and work and pensions committee.
BHS went into administration in April, leaving a pensions deficit of £571m. The report concludes that the so-called 'King of the High Street' failed to invest sufficiently in stores, cut costs, sold assets and paid substantial dividends offshore to the ultimate benefit of his wife. But how did he get away with it?
Speaking on the Today programme, work and pension select committee chair Frank Field looked back to the early 19th century for a comparison.
“These were a group of companies that were run by somebody who behaves like Napoleon, who has a collection of people around him who do as he wants,” he said.
“There is no corporate governance, as there would be in a public company, and that clearly will be part of the agenda I hope the Prime Minister will want to pick up very quickly.”
Others - including former business secretary Vince Cable - suggested that Green was more like Robert Maxwell, famed for his fraudulent misappropriation of the Mirror Group pension fund and his mysterious death at sea in 1991.
But Field said that such a comparison would let Green off the hook, as the Arcadia boss had behaved even more appallingly
“Oh, much worse. I never thought Maxwell, he was just borrowing money all over the place. This person has plundered BHS and Arcadia – the Arcadia group of companies - their pension scheme is now also in deficit,” he told the same programme.
“Money beyond the dreams of avarice have gone up to the Green family and 11,000 workers… are now going to hit the dole queues, 22,000 pensioners are actually suffering cuts. I think that is worse because he has it in his power to do things.
“Maxwell didn’t have it in his power and the music stopped while there was no money there.”