Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia paid up to £2m to retain “key” BHS head office employees, revealed BBC’s Panorama last night.
“We’ve been told around two hundred staff at BHS headquarters received what they called a ‘Philip bonus’. In total more than two million pounds,” said reporter Jane Corbin.
The programme alleged that a spokesman for Sir Philip Green said Arcadia funded some ex gratia payments to help retain staff as the administrator looked for a buyer, but staff were only told they were getting the payments after no buyer was found.
However last night, a spokesman issued a statement from former BHS chief executive Darren Topp who said that the money was paid “in order to stem the tide of resignations” and to “retain key people in order to continue to trade”.
He said almost 100 people resigned from head office following the announcement of the CVA in March within the space of around four weeks.
“These monies would then be paid to individuals on either the sale of the business, the closure of the business or when we no longer required them and would be paid in the week following their last day of work or company sale,” he said.
“This money allowed us to retain key people in order to continue to trade and should a successful buyer have been found the business would have had the necessary resources to be operate normally very quickly.
“Arcadia agreed to support the business in order to make these payments.”