Moores expel Littlewoods chief

Littlewoods, the privately owned, £2bn mail order, pools and stores group, yesterday sacked its chief executive, Barry Dale. He has been replaced, temporarily, by Bill Huntley, his deputy.

Mr Dale left Littlewoods' Liverpool headquarters immediately without comment. He is not receiving a pay-off and is understood to be consulting his lawyers.

The decision to dismiss Mr Dale, as revealed in the Independent earlier this week, was taken at a secret meeting at the Savoy Hotel in London last Friday.

At that meeting, attended by senior members of the Moores family who own every share in what is Britain's biggest private company, Leonard van Geest, the chairman, and two non-executive directors, it was agreed that James Suenson-Taylor, son of Betty Moores, should take the reins until a permanent successor could be found.

In further meetings this week in Liverpool, the family - principally Betty or Lady Grantchester, daughter of the late Sir John Moores, Littlewoods' redoubtable founder, and John Moores, his son - rescinded that proposal because it was felt Mr Suenson-Taylor lacked the necessary experience.

The search had now started, Mr van Geest said yesterday, for "a chief executive of the highest management calibre".

No reason was given for the departure of Mr Dale, 56, who had led the group successfully since 1993 and had been with it for seven years. His shock removal marks an attempt by the Moores to reassert their authority on their empire. Lady Grantchester, in particular, has felt for some time that the family has not been consulted fully on executive decisions.

Ever since Sir John finally retired in 1982 - he died in 1993 - his heirs have struggled to maintain his standards. They have had to turn to outsiders to run the business, which has led to conflict.

Mr Dale's firing is the latest twist in what is proving to be a turbulent period for the normally staid Littlewoods. Peter Moores, brother of John and Betty, has indicated his intention to dispose of his 22 per cent stake, which will have to be bought by the company.

Last October, Prodip Guha, the group's high-flying international director, was sacked. Mr Guha was surreptitiously photographed in the street in Chester talking to a journalist from a national newspaper. He is now suing for unfair dismissal and racial discrimination.

Then, in an unrelated move, private detectives uncovered suspected fraud in the group's stores buying department, and three managers went.

A long-running sore between the family and executives was a partnership between Littlewoods and Lorad, a Far East trading group with links to the defence industry.

The image-conscious Moores queried whether the company should be doing business with a defence-related concern and questioned the generosity being shown to the Far East trader. Littlewoods agreed to buy out Lorad, but that has turned sour. An associate company of Lorad has issued a writ against Littlewoods claiming almost £1m is outstanding. Littlewoods, which made profits of £120m in1993/4, has also been hit hard by the National Lottery, losing almost 10 per cent of its pools takings, which has forced job cuts.

Life and Style
The veteran poverty campaigner Sir Bob Geldof issues a stark challenge to emerging economies at the Melbourne HIV/Aids conference
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich talk Penguins of Madagascar at Comic-Con
comic-con 2014Cumberbatch fans banned from asking about Sherlock at Comic-Con
Arts and Entertainment
Chris Pratt stars in Guardians of the Galaxy
filmGuardians Of The Galaxy should have taken itself a bit more seriously, writes Geoffrey Macnab
Sir Chris Hoy won six Olympic golds - in which four events?
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
Arts and Entertainment
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Associate Recruitment Consultant - IT

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

Business Analyst

£300 - £350 per day: Orgtel: Job Title: Business Analyst Rate: £300 - £350 per...

Trade Desk Specialist (Linux, Windows, FIX, Finance, Networks)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (Linux, Windows, FIX...

Associate CXL Consultant

£40000 - £60000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: CXL, Triple Po...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform