Ex-Rover chiefs banned from serving as directors

8th May 2011, Comments 0 comments

The four men at the head of British car maker MG Rover when it folded in 2005, resulting in the loss of more than 6,000 jobs, were banned Sunday from serving as directors for between four and six years.

Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards and John Towers were directors of the Phoenix Venture Holdings company which bought MG Rover, in the central England city of Birmingham, for £10 ($16) in 2000.

The "Phoenix four" were at the helm when the car giant collapsed in 2005 with debts of $1.3 billion and were widely accused of mismanagement and of awarding themselves huge wages and pensions.

The move to disqualify the businessmen from serving on the board of any company was voluntarily agreed by the group after the British government conducted a "lengthy and complex investigation" into MG's collapse.

A spokesman for the group, who awarded themselves $40 million in pay and pensions during their time in charge, said the men had "already made it clear that they have no intention of holding company office in the UK.

"They have agreed to a voluntary compromise, while emphatically not accepting any allegations or suggestions of wrong-doing," he continued.

"The former directors point out that they have done nothing which justifies disqualification. All of the many inquiries into the collapse of MG Rover have achieved little other than a series of massive bills," he argued.

An 800-page independent report published in 2009 claimed that one of the members of the consortium provided "inaccurate and misleading information" to lawmakers investigating the collapse.

© 2011 AFP

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