IN a marathon six-hour parliamentary evidence session on Wednesday, retail billionaire Sir Phillip Green told MPs that advisers Grant Thornton, Olswang and Goldman Sachs shared the responsibility for the collapse of BHS.
Green told MPs in the joint BIS and Work and Pensions committees that he had sold BHS, the high street retailer that collapsed into administration in April, to the ‘wrong guy’ but appeared to shift the blame on advisers involved in the sale – Grant Thornton, Goldman Sachs and Olswang – for failing to raise concerns about Dominc Chappell’s suitability as a buyer for the business.
In 2015, BHS was sold for £1 to Retail Acquisitions, a group of investors led by Chappell, an ex-bankrupt with no retail experience.
Green admitted that Chappell was “unfortunately the wrong guy” to buy BHS but said he took comfort that Grant Thornton and Olswang were advising Chappell, but added later that the firms “didn’t know [Chappell] from a hole in the wall”.
“I took comfort from Grant Thornton and Olswang representing this guy as reputable firms,” Green said. “Do [the firms not] have any accountability or responsibility?”
He added later that he “one million percent” would not have approved the deal with Chappell if he had not pass Goldman Sach’s vetting process.