Robinson denies misuse of facilities


A DAY after being removed as chief executive of Britain's Woolwich Building Society, Mr Peter Robinson yesterday denied any misuse of the society's facilities.

"I am totally shocked by the action taken by the board of the Woolwich... I deny I have in any way misused the society's facilities," Mr Robinson said in a statement.

Earlier, Sir Brian Jenkins, the chairman of the mutually owned home loan society, Britain's third largest, outlined allegations against Mr Robinson.

The society had initially declined to comment on the reasons for his departure.

"The allegations centre on the irregular use of the society's facilities but there are a number of matters under investigation," Sir Brian said. "The issue which is at the root of this is one of confidence on the part of,, the board and the management, he added.

Mr Robinson, appointed chief executive three months ago, resigned on Monday under pressure from the board, according to a spokeswoman for his solicitors D.J. Freeman.

Mr Robinson had an annual salary of around £300,000. Industry sources said he could be in line for a substantial pay off.

The building society said on Tuesday that Mr Donald Kirkham, who retired as chief executive in December 1995, would take over temporarily. Plans to seek bank status via a stock market flotation next year were still on track.

It said a new chief executive would be appointed to lead the group through its conversion to a bank and its flotation.

But analysts said these plans could now be under threat and the Woolwich could be a candidate for a takeover following Mr Robinson's departure.

Mr Robinson a Hamboyant character, was widely viewed as the architect of the flotation plans.