Topshop boss calls for truce in war of words over Arcadia pension fund
The billionaire controlling shareholder of fashion retail giant Arcadia has called for an end to the war of words with an MP that has led to ongoing negative press around the business for the past 18 months.
Sir Philip Green wrote to MP Frank Field suggesting that there are bigger targets to go after following the collapse of construction giant Carillion and that the company is well aware of its pension obligations.
Field first clashed with the retail tycoon after the failure of the BHS chain that had been sold to a group controlled by Dominic Chappell for £1 a year earlier. The collapse left a £571 million pensions deficit and saw Sir Philip eventually pumping £363 million into the fund.
Field has continued piling on the pressure in his role as chair of the House of Commons work and pensions select committee and since rumours surfaced suggesting Arcadia is up for sale, he has gone back on the attack as the fashion retail giant also has a pensions black hole. Last month he also said he believed Sir Philip had “got away with murder” over the BHS affair.
Now a letter has been leaked that Sir Philip wrote to him late last month in which the Arcadia chief said: “Why don’t we call a truce. You say it is not personal, it could not be more personal. Go and tackle Carillion or someone else. I think eighteen months later everyone is bored with this story.”
Field has been seeking assurances from Arcadia over its pension scheme but the letter said: “All the board are aware, if the company is sold, there are pension obligations and there is a process that they will need to adhere to should that arise.” And he said the pensions regulator is satisfied that if Arcadia was sold, the processes in place to protect the pension fund are robust enough.
Arcadia has already said that it is planning to double its pension contributions to £50 million a year.
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