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Lord Myners to head team probing Sir Philip Green role in BHS collapse

Published 06/05/2016

Sir Philip Green was widely criticised after BHS collapsed last week, a year after he sold it for £1
Sir Philip Green was widely criticised after BHS collapsed last week, a year after he sold it for £1

Former Marks & Spencer chairman Lord Myners has been appointed to lead a team of financial experts that will help MPs investigate Sir Philip Green's role in the collapse of retailer BHS.

Lord Myners, who also served as City minister under Gordon Brown, is best known for fighting off a bid for M&S from Sir Philip in 2004.

Sir David Norgrove, chair of the Low Pay Commission and former chair of M&S's pension fund, has also been recruited as a specialist adviser to the Business and Work and Pensions select committees.

Sir Philip will be probed by both committees on June 15 over a £400 million dividend payment made to his family from the business and over his management of the pension scheme.

The billionaire has come in for widespread criticism after the retailer collapsed last week, a year after he sold it for £1, putting 11,000 jobs at risk and leaving a £571 million pension-fund black hole.

Lord Myners has already taken Sir Philip to task over his ownership of BHS.

He said: "When Philip Green took money out of the company, he weakened the company and therefore weakened its ability to meet the pensions promise.

"If you have a company that is losing market share, losing profitability, heavily indebted, as BHS was under Philip Green's ownership, then the trustees should make sure there was sufficient money in the pensions scheme and they clearly failed to do that."

On Thursday, the tycoon hit back in a letter to select committee chairs, MPs Frank Field and Iain Wright.

Referring to statements claiming Sir Philip asset-stripped BHS and should lose his knighthood, the billionaire said: "These statements suggest that you are leaping to conclusions before any evidence from any witness has been heard.

"They suggest that there will be no real attempt to run your inquiries in a fair way and that the outcome is pre-determined."

He also called for Mr Field to "stand down from the inquiry immediately".

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