Philip Green escapes company director ban for BHS £1 deal

Sir Philip Green has escaped a ban from serving as a company director by the Insolvency Service over the deal to sell BHS for £1 in 2015, a year before the retailer collapsed.

However, Dominic Chappell, who led the consortium that bought BHS, faces a lengthy boardroom ban after a government inquiry into the collapse of the retailer in 2016, which led to the loss of 11,000 jobs.

Chappell and three other former BHS directors have been told by the government agency that they could face bans of up to 15 years, the maximum ban the service can impose.

Confirming the decision, the Insolvency Service said: “The Insolvency Service has written to Dominic Chappell and three other former directors of BHS and connected companies informing them that we intend to bring proceedings to have them disqualified from running or controlling companies for periods up to 15 years.

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“We can also confirm that we have written to Sir Philip Green, also a former director of BHS, informing him that we do not currently intend to bring disqualification proceedings against him.

“As this matter may now be tested in the court it is not appropriate to comment further.”

The collapse of BHS prompted an inquiry by MPs and the pensions regulator into how the business had been managed and financed in the period in the run-up to its collapse. The retailer had a pension deficit of up to £571m when it failed.

Green, who owned BHS for 15 years before selling it to Chappell, subsequently agreed to hand over £363m to rescue the scheme in a deal with the regulator.

A spokesman for Green said on Tuesday: “On 15 March, the Insolvency Service informed Sir Philip Green that it had concluded its investigation into BHS and confirmed that he will not be the subject of any proceedings under the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986.

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“Identical confirmations have also been sent to a number of other individuals who were BHS directors in the period prior to its acquisition by Retail Acquisitions Limited.

“Sir Philip and his fellow directors have cooperated fully with the Insolvency Service since its investigation commenced in May 2016 and welcome this decision.”

Under usual processes, Chappell and the three other former BHS directors will have the opportunity to argue the case that such action against them is unjustified, before the Insolvency Service begins formal court proceedings.