Belfast Telegraph

Baroness Karren Brady appointed chairman of Sir Philip Green's Taveta

Sir Philip Green has appointed Baroness Karren Brady as the chairman of Taveta, the parent company in charge of the tycoon's Arcadia retail empire.

Baroness Brady will take over the role from Lord Grabiner, who is stepping down from the position of non-executive chairman.

Lord Grabiner, a prominent QC, spent 15 years leading the Taveta board, which came under fire from MPs for providing "weak" corporate governance that contributed "substantially" to the demise of BHS.

Arcadia employs more than 24,000 staff worldwide and owns a string of high street fashion chains, including Topshop, Topman, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Burton and Outfit.

Announcing the appointment, Sir Philip said: "On behalf of the Taveta board, I would like to thank Lord Grabiner for his 15 years' service and to wish him well for the future.

"I am delighted to announce that Baroness Karren Brady will be appointed as non-executive chairman.

"Baroness Brady joined the Taveta board as a non-executive director in September 2010 and will assume the role immediately."

Ms Brady is the chief executive of West Ham United football club and an adviser to Lord Alan Sugar on the BBC reality show The Apprentice.

The announcement follows a year of tough trading for Taveta Investments, which saw annual profits take a hit from falling sales and costs linked to the collapse of BHS.

Taking into account exceptional costs, pre-tax profit plummeted from £172.2 million to £36.8 million in the year ended August 27.

Sales at Taveta also dropped 2.5% to just over £2 billion in the period, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

Speaking about her appointment, Ms Brady said: "I have been working with the Taveta board since September 2010 as a non-executive director and I am delighted to be assuming the role of non-executive chairman for the Taveta board with immediate effect.

"It is a privilege to have been invited to chair the board and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we concentrate on driving the Arcadia brands forward on their global expansion."

BHS plunged into administration last year, impacting 11,000 jobs and around 19,000 pension holders, leaving a £571 million pension deficit.

After a drawn-out saga that included a parliamentary inquiry and public outcry over Sir Philip's conduct, the billionaire agreed to pay £363 million to settle the BHS pension scheme in February.

The Topshop owner was grilled by MPs over the sale of the chain, which he owned for 15 years before offloading it for £1 to former bankrupt Dominic Chappell in 2015.

Labour MP Frank Field, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee that scrutinised the demise of BHS, said: "It is not surprising that Sir Philip Green has to use the House of Lords as a recruitment agency for his companies.

"Baroness Brady was heavily involved in Taveta during the dreadful shenanigans that led to the closure of BHS, 11,000 job losses and thousands of pensioners suffering a cut in their pension entitlement."