Government launches legal bid to ban former Carillion directors
The government has launched legal proceedings against the former directors of Carillion, the collapsed outsourcing giant.
The newly-appointed business secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, is seeking to ban the eight directors from holding senior boardroom roles for up to 15 years.
They include former chair Philip Green; Richard Howson, who was chief executive for six years until leaving in 2017; and Keith Cochrane, a non-executive director who replaced Howson.
Two former finance directors - Richard Adam and Zafar Khan - are also named, along with non-executives Alison Horner, Andrew Dougal and Ceri Powell.
In a statement, the government’s Insolvency Service, which handles corporate collapses, said: "We can confirm that on 12 January, the Secretary of State issued company director disqualification proceedings in the public interest against eight directors and former directors of Carillion."
Carillion collapsed into administration three years ago this month, with the loss of around 3,000 jobs and debts of £1.5bn. One of the UK’s biggest corporate failures, it had more than 400 public sector contracts at the time of its collapse and employed more than 19,000 people.
A subsequent joint report by two parliamentary committees called Carillion’s business model a "relentless dash for cash".
The Financial Reporting Council is investigating Adam and Khan, alongside a probe into the auditing services provided by KPMG.
Unite, the Britain’s largest union, welcomed the move. Assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: "Carillion’s collapse was not a victimless, white-collar crime, as thousands of workers lost their jobs. If executives and directors had reported honestly on Carillion’s financial predicament, many of those job losses could have been avoided."