Former Farepak finance director Stevan Fowler may lose his right to be a director in a British business if an application filed by the Insolvency Service to the High Court of Justice to disqualify the board of the collapsed business is successful.
The filing, made in late January and publicly confirmed today, seeks the disqualification of all nine former executive and non-executive directors of former Christmas hamper savings company and its parent European Home Retail Group, including Stevan Fowler, former chairman Sir Clive Thompson, former chief executive William Rollason, former directors Joanne Ponting and Stephen Hicks, and four former non-executives, Nicholas Gilodi-Johnson, Neil Gillis, Paul Munn and Michael Johns.
The disqualification application follows a four-year investigation into the Christmas 2006 collapse of Farepak by the Insolvency Service, commissioned by the secretary of state for business. The application was made “in the public interest on the grounds that the conduct of each director in relation to the relevant company or companies makes him or her unfit to be concerned in the management of a company,” the Insolvency Service said.
Sir Clive Thompson is currently deputy chairman of London-listed Strategic Equity Capital and was chairman of Rentokil Initial before joining Farepak. He is a former president of the Confederation for Business and Industry. He has also been a member of the Committee on Corporate Governance and deputy chairman of the Financial Reporting Council. It remains to be seen whether he will remain in post at Equity Capital while disqualification proceedings work their way through the Court.
The maximum period of disqualification by the Court under the company directors disqualification act 1986 is 15 years. The disqualification stops an individual from being a director of a company, as well as “acting as receiver of a company’s property or in any way being concerned or taking part in the promotion, formation or management of a company without leave of the court”.
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