The Work Foundation, an influential think tank devoted to workplace issues, has been bought by Lancaster University after being pushed into insolvency by the weight of its pension obligations.
The takeover will secure the jobs of 43 staff members at the not-for-profit body, including Will Hutton, an author and journalist who was its chief executive from 2000-2008 and is now its executive vice-chair.
Creditors, led by the think tank’s defined benefit pension fund, face an as-yet unspecified shortfall as a consequence of the insolvency, however.
Formerly known as the Industrial Society, the Work Foundation traces its history back to a boys’ welfare association set up in 1918. Its patron is the Duke of Edinburgh and its chairman is John Peace, who also chairs Standard Chartered, the bank.
The Foundation’s ongoing activities were sold after it petitioned to wind itself up in the High Court on Thursday with the agreement of its pension fund trustees, according to FRP Advisory, its liquidator.
The defined benefit pension fund has about 600 members, almost all of whom are former or retired employees. Jason Baker, a FRP Advisory partner, said the funding deficit was £27m.
Tears to my eyes that brings. This is the man, remember (and he was Chief Executive before stepping up you know, as they say), who insists on telling us all how business should be run so as to get better performance out of the UK economy.
But he keeps his job! Rewards for failure all round, eh?