Ex-Morgan Grenfell man mourned

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THE death of Philip Chappell on Friday, aged 63, prompted tributes from former colleagues yesterday.

But for the diversity of his interests, Mr Chappell might have become chief executive of Morgan Grenfell - and, some believe, thus prevented the merchant bank becoming embroiled in the Guinness takeover scandal.

Mr Chappell, who died after a lengthy illness, spent 31 years with Morgan Grenfell before his dismissal on the orders of Christopher Reeves in 1985. According to Dominic Hobson's The Pride of Lucifer, an unauthorised portrait of the bank, 'he had clung tenaciously to the historic ethos of Morgan bankers: 'Only first-class business and that in a first- class way'.' His departure 'made possible much of what followed'.

Ironically, it was a talk that Mr Chappell gave to the London Business School in 1971 that persuaded Roger Seelig to join Morgan Grenfell. Mr Seelig later faced criminal charges because of his role in the Guinness affair, although his trial collapsed.

At 34 Mr Chappell had been Morgan Grenfell's youngest ever director. In the 1970s, Ted Heath's government appointed him chairman of the National Ports Council, for which he received the CBE. He then served as a BBC governor.

Mr Hobson believes that it was these frequent absences from the bank that cost Mr Chappell the top job in favour of Mr Reeves. Although he was a vice-chairman of the group, his reputation was damaged by a spell as chairman of ICL, the computer company then in financial difficulties, and Mr Chappell was increasingly excluded from the bank's innermost counsels.

In recent years, Mr Chappell was best known for re-invigorating the Association of Investment Trust Companies and publicising the trusts' savings schemes. Paul Manduca, the AITC's chairman, said yesterday: 'He drove us all very hard but it was very successful.' Savings schemes took nearly pounds 120m in each of the past two years, compared with less than pounds 1m in 1985, before Mr Chappell became the AITC's adviser.

Mr Chappell leaves a wife and four children.