KEVIN Howe – the tough-talking MG Rover chief executive who flew off to sun himself in Florida days before Longbridge went bust – is back in business in the UK. Mr Howe, whose confrontational management style made him unpopular with unions and Longbridge workers, is helping run a Leigh on Sea registered firm called The Exit Partnership.
The ex £1.5-million-a-year Rover chief, who is known to have spent time in the United States since the demise of MG Rover in 2005, is a member of the limited liability partnership outfit, whose activities are unclear. But his return to business activities in the UK has angered campaigners who are still fighting for four-figure sum trust fund payments for 6500 ex-MG Rover workers.
He was a director of Phoenix Venture Holdings and part of a controversial multi-million pound pension fund for Longbridge directors, and earned around £5.7m during his time as chief executive from 2000 to 2005. But unlike the Phoenix Four – John Towers, Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards – Mr Howe, 50, was not banned from acting as a director.
A spokesman for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said back in April: ‘We did consider whether Kevin Howe should be disqualified but concluded after careful consideration that in terms of culpability it would not be in the public interest to pursue him.’
Carl Chinn, who was appointed one of the MG Rover Trust Fund trustees, said: ‘Throughout this upsetting and disturbing affair, a lot of attention has been paid to the Phoenix Four and the amount of money they earned.
‘Kevin Howe also earned a huge sum from MG Rover. As I have already said, the ex PVH directors should each now put £1 million of their own money into the Trust Fund, Kevin Howe included.’
Howe’s management style frequently alienated the shopfloor, with workers making official approaches to chairman John Towers to ask him to reconsider the summer 2000 appointment. The ex-MG Rover chief executive could not be contacted.
[Source : Birmingham Mail]