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RSA says ex-boss operated 'intimidatory regime'

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Philip Smith

Philip Smith

Philip Smith

RSA Insurance has claimed the former chief executive of its Irish unit resigned as his "intimidatory regime was about to be revealed".

The company has accused Philip Smith, who controversially stepped down from his job in November 2013, of leaving RSA Insurance in order to avoid the disciplinary process he was facing as part of an investigation into financial irregularities at the Irish unit. Mr Smith is taking a case against the British insurance giant before an Employment Appeals Tribunal in Dublin claiming he was constructively dismissed from his job.

The tribunal has already heard that Mr Smith felt he had no option but to resign after he was suspended during the investigation.

During his evidence earlier this week, Mr Smith branded the draft report - which formed part of an investigation into insurance reserves which was known as 'Project White' - "character assassination" as it included references about his management style.

Brian O'Moore, senior counsel for RSA, told the tribunal yesterday that Mr Smith's accusations were very serious as the report had been written by senior staff at the insurance company.

The draft report contained testimonies from up to 10 staff members and Mr O'Moore said some of these remarks described Mr Smith as "exceptionally unpleasant" and stated that he could give people a "flogging".

Mr O'Moore said that Mr Smith, who told the hearing that he was stressed at the time of the investigation and required medical attention, was in this position as he "was aware" that some of the business practices he was involved in were "wrong" and this information was "coming out". Mr Smith denied all of the allegations and told the tribunal the comments by his former colleagues contained in the report did "not reflect reality".

Mr Smith also denied that he made the decision to resign to avoid a disciplinary process and said he chose to leave without severance pay as he felt there was "absolutely no prospect of justice" through the company's grievance process.

The hearing continues today.

Irish Independent