Sir Philip Green, the former owner of retail chain BHS, said the latter was being “stripped to the bone” as it didn’t have the cash to resolve its increasingly alarming pensions situation.
During the meeting between Arcadia and MPs, Sir Philip Green’s protests that Pension Trustees had been “asleep at the wheel” was overshadowed by the revelation.
The six-hour meeting had led to the BHS’ collapse
“If somebody had come to us from the trustees and said, “We want £10 million,” I think it would have been a five-minute debate. It did not happen. For whatever reason, it did not happen.”
Arcadia Chief Operating Officer Paul Coackley had evidence against him stating that he repeatedly refused to increase the pensions contribution beyond £6.5m.
Mr Coackley said there was “no free cash flow in the business.”
“[The BHS] was facing a rocky three years ahead and could not accept any constraints or shackles,” he said.
BHS currently faced a huge £571m deficit in its two pension schemes, leaving the majority of 20,000 pensioners facing lower benefits. About 11,000 jobs from the retailer are at risk.
Sir Philip Green stressed he had no involvement with the running of BHS’ pensions. He conceded his “disconnect” is “[one] of the reasons we’re here.”
The Pension Protection Fund (PPF) is currently overseeing the BHS’ pension dilemma. However, pensioners would receive less than what they can expect from their pensions.
Posted in: General Consultation