Dominic Chappell, the former bankrupt and previous owner of BHS, dismissed the £2.6 million package he took out of the business as "a drip in the ocean".
In an interview with BBC Newsnight he "sincerely and utterly" apologised to the retailer's staff and insisted he had made every effort to turn the ailing company around. BHS's collapse in April left 11,000 people out of work and a £571 million black hole in its pensions fund, leading to an inquiry by MPs.
“I took a big risk going in and it was a risk reward, we live in a risk reward society, that’s the way companies are built and fail," he told the programme. "Did I take a lot of money out? Yes I did. But did the business fail because of the amount of money I took out? No it didn’t. This was just a drip in the ocean compared to the money that was needed to turn around BHS.
“What would I say to them [BHS employees]? I sincerely and utterly apologise for you being out of work. It’s hideous. It did not need to happen. We did take money out of BHS but we certainly didn’t take nearly £1 billion out of it.”
Mr Chappell blamed Sir Philip Green for the eventual demise of the business, saying the Arcadia owner had "tipped it over the edge".