Farnell to face sacking challenge

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The Independent Online
SOLICITORS acting for Eric Hall, sacked on Monday as chief executive of the manufacturing division of Farnell Electronics, yesterday wrote to the company claiming that he was wrongfully dismissed.

Royds Treadwell's letter to Farnell's solicitors said Mr Hall had not done anything 'which could possibly be construed as serious misconduct or indeed any misconduct whatsoever'. Mr Hall's dismissal put Farnell in repudiatory breach of contract, his solicitors claimed.

The firm claimed Mr Hall's removal required the approval of shareholders. Richard Woodman, a Royds partner, said Mr Hall was likely to sue for compensation as 'a very basic minimum'.

Mr Hall was dismissed five months before he was due to retire after 28 years with Farnell. Some of his former staff and other supporters are angry at the treatment he has received. Rumours of troubles at Farnell have contributed to its share price falling by 48p to 287p since Monday.

Richard Hanwell, who only took over as Farnell's chairman last week, has said he sacked Mr Hall because he was unable to make a contribution to the group's future. Mr Hall is believed to have indicated unwillingness to retire at 60. Farnell has called a meeting for the management of its manufacturing companies on Monday, at which Mr Hanwell will brief them on his plans. The manufacturing division has suffered during the recession, with profits declining from a pounds 9.1m peak to pounds 2.5m last year.

Andrew Lamming, Mr Hall's former deputy, has taken over the running of the division.

Mr Hall was given only 30 minutes to vacate his office on Monday. Ray Kidd, Farnell's executive chairman until last week, at first allowed Mr Hall to keep his car, a Saab. But on Wednesday he went to Mr Hall's home to take the car back.

Adrian Hall, Mr Hall's son, said his father had angrily thrown Mr Kidd off his property. Eric Hall and Mr Kidd had worked together since the 1960s, since when Farnell has enjoyed an unbroken 26-year run of growth in earnings.

Adrian Hall said: 'This is a man who we holidayed with, our families have met for Christmas.

'My father threw him out of the house and off the property. That's what it has come to.'