Rover Revulsion and The Phoenix Four

Richard Lutz laments the supine decision to allow the former Rover bosses to walk away from a disaster they created.

So…there you have it.

After 11 years of worries, duplicity and greed, the so-called Phoenix Four who milked the Rover coffers dry have gotten away with a weak slap on their collective pasty wrists.

What’s happened?

The four former owners of Rover are stopped from being company directors for a combined total of 19 years.

Big deal.

The Phoenix Four, aka John Towers, Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards pulled a reverse Robin Hood and bled the Rover workers’ dry at Longbridge. They bought the ailing company for £10, allowed inept Industry minister Steven Byers to wiggle free from a calamity and then bled the company as it crumbled with debts of more than a billion.

It has taken more than a decade- and an independent report damning them for ‘enriching themselves’ while in charge- for literally nothing to happen.

The four will go down in Birmingham history as a bunch of money grubbing white collar cowboys to be put in the same toilet as callow roofers who charge old ladies £25,000 for some lost roof slates or the second hand car dealer that sells you an old Vectra that was bought from a back street chop shop.

The Phoenix Four grabbed £42m worth of pensions and pay from the Longbridge pot. Nothing has been set aside for the 6,000 men and women who were promised a cash safety net.

Birmingham MP Steve McCabe said tonight he doubted if any money will be forthcoming – an honest and sad appraisal of a sordid tale.

No surprises that the Loathsome Four put out a formal statement rather than have the guts to stand in front of a microphone or camera and face the music. That would be out of character for a gang that tasted the fear when Rover was on its knees and ensured they got rich from other people’s hardship.

The four are probably sipping their G and T’s now in some god-awful golf clubhouse in the Home Counties or Spain and having a real old laugh at the expense   of thousands of families while they figure out how to crawl around and avoid this toothless ban.

They are the unacceptable face of British commerce.