Green axes two Sears directors

PHILIP GREEN has axed two directors of Sears days after winning control of the struggling retailer, writes Nigel Cope. David Defty, the finance director, and Roger Groom, property director, will depart with a combined payoff of pounds 1m.

Mr Defty, who had been interested in launching a management buyout of the company, receives a total of pounds 728,000. This consists of pounds 453,410 payment for termination of employment, a "loyalty bonus" of pounds 220,000 and a discretionary bonus of pounds 55,000. This is in addition to his annual salary of pounds 220,000. Mr Defty joined Sears in June 1994 and was employed on a two-year contract.

Mr Groom receives a total of pounds 318,368 made up of pounds 268,368 severance pay plus a pounds 50,000 payment to his pension fund. He had been with Sears since February 1991 and was also on a two-year contract. Sir Bob Reid, the Sears chairman who initially rejected Mr Green's bid, is not eligible for compensation.

Mr Green has left the divisional directors in place. They are Derek Lovelock, who runs the clothing businesses such as Miss Selfridge, Adams and Wallis, and John Pearmund, who runs the Freemans mail-order operation.

The compensation details were included in the offer document relating to the recommended pounds 548m offer for Sears launched by January Investments, a company fronted by Mr Green and backed by the Barclay brothers.

Mr Green is expected to take a close look at head office costs at Sears, but has yet to come to any decision.

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