Blog: Dave LeggettMG Rover management 'impropriety'

Dave Leggett | 19 November 2003

Myself and Graeme Roberts are keeping an eye on the developing story in the UK press about possible management impropriety at MG Rover, but we're being careful not to jump to conclusions. Yes, the MGR employees' pension fund appears to be in deficit and it looks as if some managers have had a trust fund set up for themselves. And it also appears to be the case that the finance part of the business has been stripped out of the company and separated. But are these things all that unusual for a company with MGR's recent history? It looks as if the media coverage in Britain has prompted the MGR workers' unions to ask questions - there's a 'clear the air' meeting with chairman John Towers today. That's got to be a good thing. Maybe there's a case to be answered. Possibly there's simply a need for MGR's management to be more transparent (though there is no suggestion of anything illegal having been done and public records are there for all to see) or communicate better to the workforce. 

But I do sense that there are some people who have a vested interest in fanning the flames here. The press love to get their teeth into something like this (though it's clear we're not exactly in Enron territory). And MG Rover's troubled history makes for a nice and easy starting point. It's like opening another chapter in a great British cock-up. And then there's John Moulton and his allies. He was the venture capitalist who failed to acquire Rover Cars back in 2000. He, you may remember, had a bid initially accepted by BMW that would have meant turning Rover into a niche sports car manufacturer (along Lotus lines) along with big job losses. The way Towers rode into town and took Rover from under his nose must still give him nightmares. It's not too surprising that he's already popped up in the press to talk about the current management's asset-stripping (perhaps a bit rich given what he would have done) and generally stir things up. 

My guess is that the unions will want to make their concerns known and then draw a line under the affair. MG Rover has much bigger things to worry about if it is to have a future.

A few people are having their two pennies' worth in this discussion forum thread:


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