Timeline: the rise and fall of Philip Green

Jasper Jolly
·4-min read
<span>Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Bloomberg/Getty Images

1952 Philip Green is born in Croydon, south London, the second child of Alma and Simon Green. His father, an electrical goods businessman, dies when Philip is 12 years old.

1961 Green attends Carmel College, a now defunct boarding school.

1968 Green leaves school with no O-levels. Within a year he finds a job at a wholesale shoe importing company owned by a family friend in east London. He later moves into buying clothes from bankrupt retailers and selling them on for profit.

1980 Green opens discount shops in Mayfair, one of which is called Bond Street Bandit.

1985 Green meets Christina Palos, who at the time runs a Knightsbridge boutique and is married, at a party. They wed in 1990.

1988 Philip Green is hired as head of Amber Day, a listed menswear retailer.

1992 Green leaves Amber Day after missing profit targets. His wife’s boutique goes bust in the same year.

1999 Green works with the Barclay brothers, now the owners of the Daily Telegraph, to buy Sears, the owner of the Miss Selfridge, Wallis and Warehouse brands. He also makes his first failed bid for Marks & Spencer.

2000 Continuing the flurry of deal-making – aided by a network of investment bank contacts – Green buys the department store chain BHS for £200m.

2002 Philip Green’s Taveta Investments buys Arcadia Group for £770m.

2004 Green makes a second bid for Marks & Spencer, worth £9.1bn. It is rejected by M&S shareholders. “We will see who is the best retailer,” Green says.

2005 Arcadia pays a £1.2bn dividend – the biggest single payout in UK corporate history – to Green’s wife, Tina, who owns the business. She pays no UK tax on it because she is resident in Monaco.

2006 Philip Green is knighted on the approval of Tony Blair for services to the retail industry. Nearing the heights of his powers, he signs a deal with Kate Moss to design collections for Topshop, and plans expansion to the US.

2007 Philip and Tina Green’s wealth peaks at £4.9bn, according to the Sunday Times rich list.

2010 The new prime minister, David Cameron, hires Philip Green as his “efficiency tsar”, with a brief to look at ways to reduce profligate spending.

2012 The Greens spend millions on a lavish 60th birthday party for Philip, flying guests to Mexico to be entertained by Stevie Wonder, Robbie Williams and the Beach Boys.

2015 The Greens sell BHS to Dominic Chappell, a former bankrupt and racing driver with no retail experience, for £1.

2016 BHS collapses into administration with the loss of 11,000 jobs and with a £571m pension deficit. The Green family and other shareholders collected at least £580m from the chain during their ownership. Later in the year, MPs symbolically vote to strip Green of his knighthood, and call him the “unacceptable face of capitalism” in a report.

2017 Green agrees to pay £363m in cash to rescue the BHS pension fund.

2018 Green is named in parliament as the businessman who allegedly paid former employees in return for non-disclosure agreements. He is later accused of making racist remarks about employees, groping female employees and being physically abusive towards other staff. Green strenuously denies the allegations.

May 2019 Philip and Tina Green’s fortune drops below £1bn, according to the Sunday Times rich list, as her stake in Arcadia becomes “worthless”.

June 2019 Philip Green agrees to pay £25m towards Arcadia’s pension fund.

June 2019 Arcadia narrowly avoids administration after winning backing from creditors for a rescue deal that includes the closure of 50 stores and the loss of 1,000 jobs.

Sept 2019 Arcadia reveals a £177.3m loss for the year to September 2018 – its most recent public results statement – including half a billion pounds lost at Topshop.

March 2020 The coronavirus pandemic hits. Arcadia closes all its stores across the UK as the first national lockdown begins. In April, Green puts 14,500 employees on the government’s job retention scheme, which supports the wages of furloughed workers.

July 2020 Arcadia announces 500 management job losses as it tries to cut costs.

November 2020 Arcadia goes into administration.