Former BET head makes pounds 3m claim

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John Clark, the former chief executive of BET, yesterday launched his court claim for pounds 3.3m compensation over his dismissal from the business services group in May.

American-born Mr Clark opposed the pounds 2.2bn hostile takeover of BET by Rentokil, and has asked the courts to rule on his severance package.

He is claiming more than pounds 1.4m for loss of salary, plus damages for loss of pension rights, stock and share options, bonus payments, an executive car and chauffeur, and health insurance.

His counsel, Brian Langstaff QC, told Mr Justice Timothy Walker it was perhaps inevitable his head would roll when Rentokil gained control of BET.

BET agreed it should compensate him, but hotly disputed how much it was liable to pay, arguing that an executive of his stature should easily be able to find a new job and that he was thus bound to "mitigate his own loss". It said it offered Mr Clark the same "fair" terms as other former BET directors, all of whom had accepted the offer.

Mr Clark, 55, contended he would have serious difficulty in finding a new top executive post in a large British company because of his age and his "controversial" reputation, his counsel said. Mr Langstaff said Mr Clark joined BET in November 1991, when it was regarded as being potentially loss-making. He succeeded in turning round BET. That was one of the few matters unlikely to be in dispute during the court hearing, his counsel said.

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