A&L agrees £1.82m settlement with ousted chief

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The Independent Online

Peter White, the ousted chief executive of Alliance & Leicester, the building society turned bank, yesterday agreed to settle his dispute with his former employer out of court in a deal worth £1.82m.

The agreement draws a line under a row which has simmered since Mr White was edged out in a boardroom bust-up after eight years in the job last October.

Following his departure, which John Windeler, the Alliance & Leicester chairman, said was prompted by the need for a change in style at the top. Mr White, who is known in the industry for his abrasive style, lodged a formal complaint with an industrial tribunal alleging unfair dismissal.

Last month, he hired George Carman QC, one of Britain's top libel lawyers, to sue the bank under the Public Interest Disclosure Act on the grounds that he had been fired for threatening to disclose "material information" that he claimed should have been revealed to investors in a £183m bond issue last year.

However, Mr White has now agreed to drop his legal threat in return for a settlement which, while generous by most people's standards, is little more than what he was entitled to under his contract with A&L.

Under the terms of the settlement agreed yesterday Alliance & Leicester will allow Mr White to exercise executive shares options worth £190,431 on yesterday's share price. The bank is also allowing Mr White to take his pension early.

Accompanying the settlement was an agreed statement which paid tribute to Mr White's contribution in leading the conversion of Alliance & Leicester from a building society to a bank.

Mr White holds further share options which are valueless because the exercise price is significantly above the current share price and which Mr White is unlikely be able to exercise before they lapse on 29 April.

The settlement is in addition to the basic contractual entitlement of £1.5m - the equivalent of two years' salary - which Mr White received last year, and a £586,000 top-up to his pension to make up for the years he would have lost.