'One person responsible for chain's demise'...

‘King of retail’ Green blamed for collapse of BHS

Sir Philip Green Commons 15 JuneFormer BHS owner Sir Philip Green’s reputation as the “king of retail” was in ruins following his part in the failure of the chain, according to a report from a group of MPs.

Sir Philip contributed to the collapse of the 88-year-old group by extracting huge sums from the company while leaving its pension fund in deficit,  the report concludes.

A highly-critical indictment by two Commons select committees says the retail tycoon sought to blame anyone but himself for the company’s failure.

The Work and Pensions committee, together with the Business, Innovation and Skills committee also criticised Dominic Chappell, who bought BHS for £1, as well as the “directors, advisers and hangers-on” associated with the deal.

However, MPs felt Sir Philip was ultimately to blame and now had a “moral duty” to compensate 20,000 employees and former employees in the pension scheme who are facing substantial cuts to their benefits.

The 66-page report states that leadership failures and personal greed caused the downfall of the 88-year old chain, calling it “the unacceptable face of capitalism”.

The report says Sir Philip’s family had accrued “incredible wealth” from their ownership of BHS while paying little in tax.

He failed to invest in the company or tackle the “substantial and unsustainable deficit” in the pension fund.

Bhs store, Edinburgh (pic by Terry Murden)
Bhs store, Edinburgh (pic by Terry Murden)

Frank Field, chairman of the Work and Pensions committee said: “One person alone is ultimately responsible for the BHS disaster.

“While Sir Philip Green signposted blame for 11,000 job losses and a gigantic pension fund hole to every known player, the buck stops with him. His reputation as the king of retail lies in the ruins of BHS.”

Field continued: “His family took out of BHS and Arcadia a fortune beyond the dreams of avarice, and he’s still to make good his boast of ‘fixing’ the pension fund.

“What kind of man is it who can count his fortune in billions but does not know what decent behaviour is?”

The committees’ report comes days after the Cabinet Office said it would respond to calls for Sir Philip to be stripped of his knighthood.


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