Archive : My golden handshake by sacked car chief


John Barber, the sacked boss of British Leyland, left his office for the last time yesterday and talked his “golden handshake.”

“The £300,000 everyone has mentioned is a fairy tale”, he said. “People have just multiplied my annual salary of £42,000 by the eight remaining years of my nine-year contract. I am sure there is no cheque for an amount like that, but I am now going to find out. This is just a straightforward legal issue and I wouldn’t expect it to get to court.”

Mr. Barber, managing director of the old British Leyland Motor Corporation, was sacked on the recommendation of the Ryder Report. But this week M.P’s on the select committee examining the motor industry said “The motor industry cannot afford to lose a man of Mr Barber’s stature.

“They made some very kind remarks about me,” he said yesterday.

I am disappointed to be going like this, but I want to stress that there has been no row. Now that I have got to start again…….I’m certainly not thinking of an early retirement and next week I’ll be seeing people to find out what opportunities exist.”

On the controversy over his house at Upshire, Essex, bought from British Leyland for £41,000, he said: “I bought land around it privately and to say I got a £100,000 property for £41,000 is nonsense. Some odd things are being suggested and it’s a great pity.”

And on the motor industry: “Recession along with the rise in oil prices, has made it difficult for all the world’s motor giants. The faults in the British motor industry are well known – to many disputes and not enough modernisation. The fact that 41 percent of new cars were imported is a warning sign that cannot be ignored.”

Keith Adams

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