Former Brixton boss fired for 'being too honest'

Former Brixton boss fired for 'being too honest'


Tim Wheeler, the former boss of industrial property group Brixton, told a tribunal today that he was sacked by shareholders on the basis of his refusal to be “disloyal” or “dishonest” to shareholders.

He stands accused of hindering a rights issue “fundamental to the survival of Brixton plc as a standalone company” and becoming obsessed “with his own financial position.”

Mr Wheeler is suing Brixton, which was bought by rival Segro for £107 million in August, for unfair dismissal following his sacking in March 2009.

He told the London central employment tribunal that last February the property firm wanted to launch a rights issue whilst failing to disclose to investors that he planned to leave his CEO role in the “near future.”

Mr Wheeler said that it had always been his long-term intention to take early retirement, and announced to the board at the close of 2008 his intention to step down as CEO in the summer of 2009, whilst continuing to work as a part-time advisor for up to two years.

He said: “I was not prepared to go through those [rights issue] meetings pretending that I would necessarily be at the company in the same position in the future.”

Relations with the board soured when the CEO claimed that he was entitled to a larger pension payout, on the grounds that Brixton had failed to adjust to new pension fund rules introduced in 2004.

In an account that jarred sharply with Mr Wheeler’s testimony, Peter Dawson, the succeeding CEO at Brixton, claimed his ex- boss was “autocratic” and held “the company to ransom” over the pension row.

Mr Dawson stated that Mr Wheeler informed the board he refused to do pre-marketing for an emergency rights issue “unless we settled his pension dispute in his favour in a sum that he felt was acceptable.”

Mr Wheeler admits there was a dispute over his pension, but maintained: “Had I not revealed any of the facts I felt I would have been disloyal to the shareholders, and indeed dishonest.”

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