The four former top executives of MG Rover Group who withdrew 40 million pounds ($64 million) from the company before it collapsed in 2005 were banned from becoming directors in the company for up to six years effective May 17, the insolvency service of the UK government said.
Specifically, ex-manager Peter Beale will not become a director in the company for six years while John Towers and Nick Stephenson are banned for five years, and John Edwards is banned for three years.
These four executives were MG Rover directors and key figures behind Phoenix Venture Holdings, which is a private equity firm run by Towers. In 2000, Phoenix Venture bought the troubled company from BMW AG for a nominal 10 pounds to prevent it from going out of business.
However, in 2005, the company collapsed, resulting in debts nearing 1.3 billion pounds and 6,000 job losses. In the same year, the company was bought by China-based Nanjing Automobile Corp., which later merged with SAIC Motor Corp.
On April 2011, SAIC started manufacturing the MG6, the brand's first new model in the UK in 16 years, using powertrains, body shells, and engines shipped from China.
According to Edward Davey, Minister with responsibility for corporate governance and company law, the disqualifications represent a victorious conclusion to a complex and lengthy investigation into the collapse of MG Rover.
He added that the result of this case serves as a vital reminder that unacceptable conduct by top executives can lead to lengthy periods of disqualification.