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Phoenix Four: What happened to the men who ruined Rover?

They are the fat cat bosses who ran one of our proudest firms into the ground and left 6,300 workers out in the cold.

And yesterday the Phoenix Four further outraged their former employees by appearing to walk away from the MG Rover saga scot free.

Millionaires John Towers, Nick Stephenson, John Edwards and Peter Beale have all been disqualified from being company directors following a lengthy investigation by The Insolvency Service.

But their spokesman admitted none of the men - who pocketed £36million between them during their disastrous spell in charge of the car firm - were planning to run a UK company in the near future anyway.

The quartet formed Phoenix Venture Holdings and bought MG Rover for £10 from BMW in 2000.

But it then nose-dived into bankruptcy in 2005, owing creditors £1.3billion, while thousands lost their jobs and pension pots.

Former engineer Sean Kendall, who worked at Longbridge for 18 years, said: "This is a slap in the face. These guys are sitting on their fat bank accounts so aren't bothered by this. They've got off scot free. I was unemployed for about seven months and some of my friends lost their homes. It's a disgrace."

Ex-employees are still waiting for the four to pay £12.5million of pledged funds into a Longbridge Trust for staff. But due to a bank dispute, this has been delayed. Here's what the Phoenix Four are up to...


Stephenson, 62, has fled to Florida where he's landed another lucrative job in the car industry.

He has been banned from being a director in the UK for five years, but this will not will affect his life by the beach across the Atlantic.

During his time at MG Rover, married Stephenson had an affair with a Chinese consultant called Dr Qu Li. As far as many fellow executives were concerned, she was simply an interpreter.

But, on at least one business trip to China, it was clear the relationship went further.

Dr Li was paid £1.69million for 15 months of consultancy services to MG Rover Group. The affair was documented in the 830-page report into the scandal, which said her fees were "excessive".

Between 2000 and 2005, he took on directorships at other firms, including Mira, which MG Rover contracted for consultancy serv-ices worth nearly £2.4million in 2001 and 2002. Stephenson, who made £8.9million from MG Rover and Phoenix Holdings, lived in a converted bakery near Birmingham at the time of Rover's collapse. He sold it for £395,000 in 2010.

A source said: "Nick was the geeky one. He was into car design and liked drag racing at the weekend."



Ex-car dealer Edwards, 58, blew his Rover cash on classic cars and private planes.

He lived in a lavish £1.3million home, owned expensive supercars and two small Cessna planes, despite not having a pilot's licence.

Edwards started out at the family firm - his father's Rover franchise, Edwards Cars.

In 2000, he became a director of MG Rover and Phoenix Venture Holdings and made £9million between 2000-5.

A former associate said: "All he has ever craved is extreme wealth. To him, Rover has always been a cash cow. His attitude will be, 'I took a risk £9M and I deserve the payback'."

He now lives in a nine-bed country pile with wife Mari-anne, 68, in the Cotswolds. He has been struck off as a director for three years and works for an engineering consultancy in the UK.



Towers was the natural leader of the Phoenix Four.

The 63-year-old, who has been disqualified as a director for five years, is refurbishing a £1.5million 450-acre retreat in the south of France with second wife Beth, 49.

The rolling estate, an hour from Toulouse, has a fine hunting lodge as its centre-piece and even includes its own deer herd.

Keen golfer Towers also owns a £1.5million apartment in a golf resort on "Million-aires' Row" in the Algarve and has a £650,000 home in Bourton-on-Dunsmore, Warks. He joined Rover in 1988 and quickly moved through the ranks, before becoming chief executive in 1991.

In 1994 he tried to arrange a buyout, with Honda, from then-owner British Aerospace. But the company was sold to BMW instead and Towers quit in 1996. He returned to Rover in 2000 with the Phoenix takeover. Between 2000 and 2005, Towers took home £8.9million in pay, pensions and bonuses.



Moneyman Beale, 55, currently lives with wife Jane, 54, in a £750,000 Victorian manor house.

A Range Rover is parked on the driveway behind metal gates and a 6ft fence which surrounds the country pile in Dunhampstead, Worcs.

After the car firm's collapse, it emerged Beale picked up £8.981million during his time at MG Rover and Phoenix.

He was a partner at an accountancy firm before joining Edwards' dealership as finance director in 1989.

In front of a Commons committee in 2004, Beale did admit the four Phoenix bosses had taken "extraordinary rewards" from Rover, but insisted they had been earned because they had taken an "extraordinary risk".

Beale has been slapped with a six-year ban from being a director but has already retired.

He received a longer ban than the others because he was found to have wiped company records from his computer just a day after the investiga-tion into Rover's demise was set up.





Camping has changed this year and all tents have to be booked in. I will need to know sizes of tents caravans etc. Camping will not be open until the THURSDAY PM of the show weekend. Once you have arrived and set up I would appreciate all members taking their cars that will be displayed to the show field and put on the stand ready. This will make the area less of a mud bath if it rains and it will also free up valuable camping space.

I look forward to seeing you all at the shows in 2013



Few shows are now on line for tickets in our shop. Please note closing date. No late entries will be allowed this year! 


Dear Members

As you are all aware there is another 3p a litre petrol hike due in August of this year as stated in the budget. This has a knock on effect to everyone. Some members of the public have to decide between food or petrol for work and this I feel is unfair. 

If the government reduced their extortion on fuel the people would have more money to spend in the shops and this would actually start getting the country out of recession. 

It is also effecting us as a club membership is down, members cannot afford to attend shows thus meaning less moneys going to charity’Is this fair I think not! 

We are fast becoming a third world country. 

Below you will find a link please use it and protest to your local MP! Pass this information on to as many people as you can. 

Fair Fuel UK does have support of a number of MP’s it is time to add to that list by you contacting your MP! 

It is time to stand up to this extortion instead of sitting down and letting the rich get richer!  



Attention Rover 200, 400, 25, 45, ZR and ZS drivers

Has your heater stopped working? Only got two speeds? The EuroRover Owners Club can help.

We can now repair your heater pack for LESS than the cost of a new one using up graded parts. This item is available in our club shop under electrical.

This is a swap item and you must send us your old unit in return so other members can enjoy this service. The cost is £12.


If you own a Rover 45/ZS MK2 with the ATC climate control and your fan is on full then you transistor pack needs some TLC. As you know these packs are on back order and looking like becoming NLA (no longer Available) part and has a cost of over £120.

Fear not here at EROC we can repair the transistor pack for the cost of £35. You will have to send us the pack you have for us to repair as no swap out service is available. This service is listed under electrical in our club shop.

Please note not all transistor packs can be repaired but we will do our best!

Technical Section

Hi, we now have a Technical Section, Feel free to ask them about anything to do with your cars.

T4 diagnostic machine

The Eurorover Owners Club is pleased to announce we now have an MG Rover T4 diagnostic machine as used in all the network dealers. We will be touring this unit at various shows during the year and good discounts are available for members wanting this service. The club can also supply remote key fobs for your 200 400 600 800 and 25 45 75 ZR ZS ZT.
For a limited period only to members with the following cars: Rover 200 400 25 45 ZR and ZS with the old style 2 button remote the club can supply and program these for £60. That’s a saving of at least £40 on dealer prices. Contact the club for details. Non member prices for the above are £70.
Please not we will be only touring this if there is an interest. Please advise you wish this service at a show.


The club can now also supply genuine MGR parts or after market mainly Unipart who used to be MGR parts suppliers. Members also get a discount on RRP.


I am in the middle of setting up a new scheme for your car insurance. I have 3 policies with this company and have saved me over £300. Policies include standard road policies to classic policies. Extra discount will be available for members. Please contact the club for details.


The club celebrates its 10th anniversary next year. Not only is it the clubs 10th year but it is also the 10th anniversary of the release of the MG Zed range. As most of you will know who can think back to that first show in Pembray 10 years ago, ( I was skinny Ben was skinny Ben still is I am not!) the club was born the same time as the Zed range and they were all there for us to look at during that weekend including a ZT-T.
The club is looking for volunteers to assist in organizing a 10th anniversary event. Please put your names forward as I can not do everything myself.

All the best, WYN!!!!