White ready to take A&L to tribunal

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The Independent Online
PETER WHITE, the ousted chief executive of Alliance & Leicester, the mortgage bank, is to go ahead with plans to take his former employer to an industrial tribunal in an attempt to clear his reputation.

Lawyers for Mr White, who was eased out of his job after eight years in a boardroom coup in October, are understood to be preparing to table formal proceedings alleging unfair dismissal tomorrow. A&L will have 21 days to respond.

Mr White wants an opportunity to clear his name publicly after what he regards as a campaign of vilification by John Windeler, A&L's chairman, and his aides.

A&L said at the time of Mr White's departure that the board felt a change of style was needed at the top. Observers said Mr White's abrasive manner may have been a factor in the failure of attempts earlier this year to merge with Bank of Ireland.

It has since emerged that just before the row that led to his departure, the board had received a merger approach from Woolwich, which had insisted Mr White be excluded from talks.

Mr Windeler is thought to have made little progress in his search for a replacement. One theory is that he plans to announce early in the new year that he is to take the chief executive's job while grooming David Bennett, who joined the A&L board last week from Lloyds TSB, as his successor. In the interim Michael Allen, brought back on to the board after 18 months as a non-executive director, will be chairman.

Mr White has little to gain financially by going to a tribunal. The limit on compensation through an industrial tribunal is set at pounds 50,000. Under the terms of his contract Mr White is entitled to a minimum of two years' basic salary for termination without notice, a sum in excess of pounds 880,000.