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Eight Carillion directors face legal bans

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The government has taken legal action to bar eight former Carillon directors from holding board positions.

Days before the third anniversary of the Carillions collapse, new business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng made a legal offer to bar former bosses from holding managerial positions. Managing Director Richard Howson, CFO Richard Adam and Chairman Philip Green, who led the company during its period of rapid expansion, are all targeted by the Insolvency Department, which handles the proceedings.

In addition, Keith Cochrane and Zafar Khan, successor and interim CEO of the Greens, who took over as CFO after Adam in 2016, also face potential bans. Three non-executive directors, Andrew Gougal, Alison Horner and Ceri Powell, are also targeted by the legal proceedings. If the cases are successful, directors could be banned from serving on the board for up to 15 years and banned from starting, running or promoting a business.

A spokesperson for the Insolvency Department said: We can confirm that on January 12, 2021, the Secretary of State initiated proceedings to disqualify a corporate executive in the public interest against eight directors and former directors of Carillion.

The timing is important, as the government has a three-year window to bring court cases from the date of the company’s collapse on January 15, 2018. That window reportedly closed on Friday.

The government action comes after reports on directors’ actions were submitted by the insolvency department, which handled the company’s liquidation.

A number of other investigations surrounding the company’s collapse are still ongoing. The Financial Conduct Authority announced in November that it had evidence that Carillions executives had acted recklessly and issued statements by false positive market in the months leading up to its collapse. The FCA has not confirmed whether it will take action against the directors involved.

The Financial Reporting Council has investigated the audit of the Carillions accounts by KPMG. In September, the FRC said it had evidence that KPMG had violated auditing standards.

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