Real Good Food ex-directors slammed for undisclosed consultancy payments

Pieter Totté

Baking ingredients business Real Good Food, which has a major facility in Liverpool, has condemned the actions of former directors – including its founder and former chairman Pieter Totté – for taking behind-closed-doors consultancy payments.

The company has published further details of consultancy payments to ex-director Peter Salter and Totté, who resigned soon after the company issued a profit warning at the beginning of August.

The new details have been revealed after the firm engaged the forensic accounting department at BDO to investigate.

Totté’s consultancy earnings are as follows for each year ending in March: 2014 – £253,000; 2015 – £336,000; 2016 – £1.319m, including a success fee pursuant on the sale of Napier Brown Ltd, with the balance of £219,000 paid in consultancy fees; 2017 – £235,000; 2018 – £30,000.

Salter’s earnings were: 2014 – £50,000; 2015 – £31,000; 2016 – £15,000; 2017 – £94,000; 2018 – £31,000.

Another director, Pat Ridgwell who is still with the company, had payments of £55,000 and £18,000 in the 2017 and 2018 periods respectively.

Real Good Foods said “the scope of the examination of historic records was extended to cover any and all payments and transactions to directors in whatever capacity they acted”.

It went on: “Certain of the transactions detailed were not notified as related party transactions pursuant to AIM Rule 13, and the independent directors did not consult with the company’s nominated adviser at the time for the purposes of establishing whether the payments were ‘fair and reasonable’.

“The board is clear that the standards of corporate governance and reporting have historically been below those which investors might reasonably expect and is committed to rectifying this important aspect of operations and disclosure.

“The board therefore intends to appoint external advisers to conduct a full review of the company’s corporate governance and financial reporting procedures, and will make a further announcement when this review has been completed and any necessary changes implemented.”

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