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'This board was rewarded for failure'

Warren Tucker, the former chair of Cook’s remuneration committee, said the the company didn’t want to “disincentivise” investment, while Meysman said Cook was servicing 20 million “happy customers” a year, developing new product offerings and moving more of its business online.

Reeves though told him to “have a bit more humility”. “You can point to as many successes as you like, you brought down a 178-year-old business with huge repercussions,” she said. “The failures hugely outweigh the successes. I think you’re deluded about the business you ran. It went under because of the decisions you made collectively.”

The committee also heard bonuses were paid to the board on the basis of Cook’s underlying figures rather than its actual results, not taking account of its SDIs.

“This board was rewarded for failure,” said MP Stephen Kerr.

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