BusinessPeople In BusinessThe corridors of power…

The corridors of power...

Some stories make a habit of turning up year after year. One is the Public Accounts Committee berating lottery distributors for not distributing lottery money quickly enough. The other is Philip Green’s salary.

Green’s dividend from Bhs, £1.2bn at the last count,is almost half the amount
stuck in the central lottery fund awaiting distribution to good causes. I’m sure
he’ll have greater success spending it than the ‘timid’ bureaucrats who came in
for such a drubbing from those rottweilers on the PAC. Come on lads, it’s only
money. Get those cheque books out.

I find it hard to reconcile Green’s ‘I’m the big tycoon’ persona with the
altogether more likeable fellow I met way back in the early 1990s. Green was
running Amber Day, a small retailer, and presumably felt he needed to schmooze a
few journalists. He was very good company.

After a gap of several years, I met up with Green again at a drinks party in
the City. I reminded him of that earlier encounter.

‘That was a long time ago,’ he snarled, before symbolically turning his back
on me. Oh well, I suppose he’s rich enough to do what he likes. But I wonder if
hubris has set in.

Newspaper editors, who regard Green with patronising amusement, have an
annoying habit of asking their reporters to call the great man up with some
banal question. This is excruciating if you’re the one making the call, believe
me.

The Daily Telegraph’s variation on the theme was to ask him what he would be
buying his wife, Tina, for Christmas. ‘Haven’t thought about it,’ he muttered.

I once had to call Green and ask him about his luxury yacht. His reply was
unprintable.

Jon Ashworth is a freelance journalist and writer

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