LONDON — Ocado Chairman Stuart Rose believes that Sir Philip Green should keep his knighthood because he “doesn’t believe in public humiliation.”
MPs have debated whether to strip Green — who runs high-street brands including Topshop and Dorothy Perkins — of his knighthood, after he was accused of draining the pension fund of department store BHS to pay himself dividends before selling it.
“There’s been a little bit of a ‘village green lynch mob’ attitude [towards public figures] in the last few years, which I don’t like,” Rose told an audience at Retail Week Live on Thursday.
“At the end of the day, whether or not we like the honours system or whether it’s slightly bonkers is another matter. The fact of the matter is that we have that system.
“Most people get their honour for something they did in the past. Philip got his knighthood for doing what he did: He created a lot of wealth, not only for himself but on the high street — he did some good things.”
Green finally settled up with the pensions regulator in February, after agreeing to make a cash payment worth up £363 million.
Rose said: “He’s had an unfortunate experience. Does that mean that we should disgrace him in public? No. I don’t think that’s the sort of society that I want to live in.”