Ex-Carillion chairman Philip Green said his responsibility for the company’s collapse was “full and complete”, as former Carillion directors faced a barrage of questions and criticism from MPs yesterday.
Green faced the joint Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees as they probed former executives and non-executives as to their handling of Carillion prior to its collapse. Carillion went insolvent with £1.7bn of debts, primarily through non-payment from debtors; a huge pension deficit; and unprofitable contracts.
When questioned, Green said he took “full and complete, total—no question in my mind about that—not necessarily culpability but full responsibility.”
Former financial director Zafar Khan said he believed he did “everything” he could have done prior to its insolvency. Khan left Carillion in September 2017. “As soon as I came into the role, we were looking to tackle the issues. The key focus of my time in the role was to bring net debt down. I was surprised at the outcome that eventually came to pass.”
All of the directors questioned apologised for the collapse, reported The Guardian.
Former non-executive-turned-chief executive Keith Cochrane said dividends would have been suspended “through the lens of today … Would that have made a difference, possibly.”
A joint statement from committee chairs Frank Field MP and Rachel Reeves MP described the directors as “delusional characters” who stated everything was fine at the business until it suddenly and unforeseeably went wrong.
Investigations into Carillion have spread far and wide, including a number of questions for accountants and auditors to face from regulators.