Al-Fayed plans new business watchdog
Monday 05 February 1996
Sir Richard Scott, the judge heading the arms-to-Iraq inquiry, and Michael Lawrence, former chief executive of the Stock Exchange, are two of the names on the list to head a new corporate governance watchdog being established by Mohamed Al-Fayed, Harrods chairman.
Mr Al-Fayed, who has been heavily criticised for his own business methods, will this week write to around two dozen large fund managers to drum up support for his new body. He has already had two meetings with Derek Fowler, chairman of the Railways Pension Trustee Company, a big pension group which has already indicated its intention to become more active in this area, and hopes to obtain enough support from other fund managers to set up a meeting to establish the feasibility of the project.
The idea is that the new body will act as a powerful and independent force to maintain best corporate practice and make directors accountable for their actions to shareholders and the investors they represent. Potential candidates to head the new body have not yet been approached, but a spokesman for Mr Al-Fayed said they would be seeking "someone of courage and determination, who is a seeker of truth and prepared to impose corporate governance which acts in the interests of ordinary shareholders." He suggested that Sir Richard and Mr Lawrence were both independent-minded men who fitted that description.
The initiative comes after the December announcement by the Railways Pension Trustee Company that it was becoming one of the first occupational pension schemes to introduce a corporate governance policy covering the companies in which it is invested. RailPen said then it would instruct the institutions which manage its pension funds to implement a code that involves voting at company meetings and taking a greater interest company performance and strategy.
Mr Al-Fayed was spurred into action after reading of the RailPen move and met Mr Fowler to discuss ways in which the influence of fund managers could be brought to bear on companies. His spokesman said Mr Al-Fayed would underwrite the new body initially, then take a back-seat role.
Mr Al-Fayed was at the centre of a stormy corporate governance controversy during his long-running row with Tiny Rowland over the ownership of Harrods. He also feels aggrieved about being denied board representation on the board of the Sears stores group at a time when he was the largest shareholder.
- 1 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 Garland shooting: Isis claims attack on Prophet Mohamed cartoon contest in Texas as its first action on US soil
- 5 Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
Who should I vote for? The Independent quiz matches best political party for undecided voters ahead of the general election
Met Gala 2015: Beyoncé manages to out-skimp Rihanna, Miley and Kim Kardashian combined with near-naked ensemble
Syria's 'circle of hell': Aleppo residents describe children without heads, streets filled with blood and injuries never before witnessed by surgeons
General Election 2015: Photographic history of Bullingdon Club tracked down - including new picture of David Cameron in his finery
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
iJobs Money & Business
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...
£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...
£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software Engineer / Softw...