MPs slam Carillion’s ‘desperate dash for cash’

MPs have described the former bosses of failed infrastructure and outsourcing giant Carillion as ‘delusional characters’ who ‘built a giant company on sand’.

The comments came after a joint inquiry by two Commons committees heard evidence from former Carillion directors, including former chief executives Keith Cochrane and Richard Howson, and former chairman Philip Green.

Following the hearings on Tuesday, MPs Frank Field and Rachel Reeves, co-chairs of the joint Work and Pensions and Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees inquiry into Carillion said: ‘This morning a series of delusional characters maintained that everything was hunky dory until it all went suddenly and unforeseeably wrong.

‘We heard variously that this was the fault of the Bank of England, the foreign exchange markets, advisers, Brexit, the snap election, investors, suppliers, the construction industry, the business culture of the Middle East and professional designers of concrete beams. Everything we have seen points the fingers in another direction – to the people who built a giant company on sand in a desperate dash for cash.’

The committees have published Carillion’s final business plan, the ‘recovery plan’ that was presented days before the company was forced into liquidation on 15 January.

The plan sets out the Carillion management’s take on what was wrong with how the company had operated.

MPs pointed out that the picture painted by former directors at its hearing ‘appears at odds with the Business Plan’s description of the problems at the company’.

In particular, MPs highlighted a comment from the plan which stated that: ‘The Group had become too complex with an overly short term focus, weak operational risk management and too many distractions outside of our “core”’.

MPs noted that the plan suggested that Mr Green ‘was to continue his tenure as Chair of the company regardless of this analysis’.

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