The parent company of Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group has welcomed Baroness Karren Brady as its new chairman.
Brady will replace Lord Anthony Grabiner, who is stepping down as non-executive chairman of Taveta Investments after 15 years in the role.
Arcadia is a British retail empire run by Green with string of high street fashion chains under its umbrella – such as Topshop, Topman, Wallis, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Burton and Outfit – and employs more than 24,000 staff worldwide.
“On behalf of the Taveta board, I would like to thank Lord Grabiner for his 15 years’ service and to wish him well for the future,” Green said.
“I am delighted to announce that Baroness Karren Brady will be appointed as non-executive chairman.
“Baroness Brady joined the Taveta board as a non-executive director in September 2010 and will assume the role immediately.”
Brady is the chief executive of West Ham United football club and also an adviser to Lord Alan Sugar on the BBC reality show The Apprentice.
“It is a privilege to have been invited to chair the board and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we concentrate on driving the Arcadia brands forward on their global expansion,” she said.
In the last few months of Grabiner’s leadership, the Taveta board came under fire from MPs for providing “weak” corporate governance that contributed “substantially” to the demise of BHS, which was part of the Arcadia empire for 15 years before it was sold off in 2015 and then collapsed in 2016.
Brady’s appointment also follows a year of tough trading for Taveta, which saw annual profits take a hit from falling sales and costs linked to the collapse of BHS.
Taking into account exceptional costs, pre-tax profit plummeted from £172.2 million to £36.8 million in the year ended August 27.
Sales at Taveta also dropped 2.5 per cent to just over £2 billion in the period, according to accounts filed at Companies House.
Labour MP Frank Field, who chairs the Work and Pensions Committee that led the inquiry into the demise of BHS, accused Green of using the House of Lords as a “recruitment agency” for his companies.
“Baroness Brady was heavily involved in Taveta during the dreadful shenanigans that led to the closure of BHS, 11,000 job losses and thousands of pensioners suffering a cut in their pension entitlement,” Field said.
Earlier this year, Green agreed to pay £363 million to settle the BHS pension scheme.