A senior Oddbins employee was paid a five-figure sum early in March in redundancy compensation, three weeks before the company's 120 staff were made redundant.
On 8th March 2011 Simon Baile, managing director of Oddbins UK, signed off a redundancy cheque for £17,275 made out to Martin West, the company’s marketing director. West acknowledged receipt of the cheque the same day, signing a document entitled ‘Head office redundancy payment’, which Decanter.com has seen.
West was handed the cheque a week after Oddbins called in business analysts Spectrum to explore different strategies for the embattled chain.
One of these strategies was a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) designed to stave off the firm’s hundreds of creditors, to which it owed more than £20m. This failed yesterday and Oddbins went into administration.
A month before West’s payment, on 4 February, around six staff staff at Oddbins’ headquarters in Wimbledon were notified that due to poor trading they were at risk of being made redundant.
This notification was withdrawn on 22 February. When the CVA proposal was published on 15 March, they were made redundant and added to the list of creditors.
Commenting on the payment to West, Baile said, ‘Martin West wanted to leave and as he had a great deal of valuable information he signed a ‘contractual compromise agreement’.
He added he did not know why this cheque has been called a redundancy payment.
After it was announced that Oddbins was now in administration Baile said, ‘We very much regret the need to make so many staff redundant prior to last night’s vote and we are working diligently to find a buyer for the majority of the business so that as many jobs as possible may be saved.’
Other senior staff have been made redundant. Those joining the list of creditors include a credit controller and a regional business manager.
Written by Jim Budd