John Towers (businessman)

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John Towers
Born (1948-03-30) 30 March 1948 (age 69)
Nationality British
Occupation Businessman
Years active 1966–2005
Employer MG Rover Group
Rover Group
Phoenix Venture Holdings
Perkins Engines

John Towers CBE (born 30 March 1948) is an English businessman, who was the owner and managing director of Rover Group Ltd from 2000 until the company entered administration in 2005. This followed a succession of senior appointments within Rover, which he had joined from Massey Ferguson Tractors in 1988. Towers started his career in 1966 as a student apprentice with Perkins Diesel of Peterborough, which by that time had become a subsidiary of Massey Ferguson. He rose within Perkins to become Director of Engineering before leaving in the late 1980s to join the Rover Group.

Together with Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards, Towers formed the Phoenix Consortium which bought Rover Group for £10 (ten pounds) in April 2000. In addition they also bought the Studley Castle, a conference hotel.

They subsequently purchased Midland Powertrain, MG Rover's engine plant from BMW for £20. Finally, for £50 along with an undisclosed sum from the Royal Bank of Scotland, they purchased Rover Capital, (now MG Rover Capital) a book of Rover car loans.

Kevin Howe was appointed MG Rover's Managing Director in July 2000.

In April 2005, MG Rover went into administration, following the collapse of takeover talks with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). Towers has been heavily criticised for his role in the company's demise,[1] and the Phoenix Consortium's conduct relating to Rover Group was initially referred to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), although after initial investigations the SFO concluded that no further action would be taken. Following publication of a government report[1] into the failure of MG Rover, Towers - along with the other directors of Phoenix - have been disqualified from holding any company office in the United Kingdom or have undertaken not to do so. [2][3]

Towers, together with the other members of PVH, ran UK carmaker MG Rover into the ground[neutrality is disputed] until it finally collapsed with the loss of 6,500 jobs. PVH gave members of management "unreasonably large" payouts, a government-commissioned report found, which were "out of all proportion". Towers awarded himself £8.958m whilst many employees lost their lifetime jobs - leaving with nothing.[4]

Nanjing Automobile subsequently brought MG out of administration, but have since moved production to China.