Dominic Chappell: My BHS money was ‘drip in the ocean’

In his first interview, Dominic Chappell told BBC Newsnight he apologised “sincerely and utterly” to the chain’s 11,000 staff.

Mr Chappell bought BHS’s 163 stores from retail tycoon Sir Philip Green for £1 in March 2015, reports The BBC.

Mr Chappell said the plight of the staff “plays on” him deeply.

But, he said, had he not become involved the chain would have gone into liquidation far sooner. A spokesman for Sir Philip denied that claim.

Mr Chappell confirmed that he had received £2.6m in payments during his ownership, but defended that income as fair. “I took a big risk going in,” he said.

“We live in a risk reward society – that’s the way companies are built and fail. Did I take a lot of money out? Yes I did. But did the business fail because of the amount of money I took out? No it didn’t.

“This was just a drip in the ocean compared to the money that was needed to turn around BHS.”

His salary of more than £600,000 was, he said, established by an independent committee.

Mr Chappell blamed Sir Philip Green for the eventual demise of the business, saying the Arcadia owner had “tipped it over the edge”, but he had heavy criticism, too, for Frank Field, the politician leading the inquiry into why BHS failed.

Mr Chappell branded the Labour MP “pathetic”.

He also said that he came very near to completing a deal to pass BHS on to the Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley, at one point handing over the ownership certificate, only for the purchase to fail.

It is less than a year-and-a-half since BHS was bought for £1 by Retail Acquisitions, a company specially created for the deal and 90% owned by Mr Chappell.

Barely a year after that deal had gone through, BHS went into administration and the group is now in the final stages of being wound up.