Dominic Chappell told MPs that former BHS owner Sir Philip Green is to blame for the department store group’s demise.
As BHS teetered on the brink of administration, Sports Direct founder Mike Ashley was keen to buy the business but Green, who still held some sway because of his status as a BHS creditor, was set against the plan, Chappell claimed.
At today’s joint hearing of the Business, Innovation and Skills Committee and Work and Pensions Committee, Chappell said: “Philip went insane and was screaming and shouting down the phone and saying he didn’t want to get involved with Mike Ashley.”
When asked whether Chappell felt he was “used” by Green, he replied: “I think Philip genuinely thought we would fail.”
He said Green made BHS’s property CVA “incredibly difficult” and that sour relations between the tycoon and the pensions regulator over BHS’s pension deficit – Chappell had hoped to buy BHS pension-free – resulted in BHS being “treated like a ping-pong ball between two players”.
The problems with the pension fund resulted in a Section 72 notice being served, which Chappell said undermined attempts to raise finance and recruit heavyweight directors.
Chappell refused on several occasions to detail aspects of BHS’s finances, but said he has emerged with a profit from the deal.
He was “very upset” for the 11,000 staff affected by BHS’s demise and said: “That is an apology.”