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John Towers CBE (born 30 March 1948) is an English businessman, who was the owner and managing director of MG Rover Group from 2000 until the company entered administration in 2005. This followed a succession of senior appointments within Rover, which he had joined from Massey Ferguson in 1988.

John Towers
Born (1948-03-30) 30 March 1948 (age 71)
Years active1966–2005
EmployerMG Rover Group
Rover Group
Phoenix Venture Holdings
Perkins Engines

Towers started his career in 1966 as a student apprentice with Perkins Engines of Peterborough, which by that time had become a subsidiary of Massey Ferguson. He rose within Perkins to become Director of Engineering before leaving in 1988 to join the Rover Group.

Together with Peter Beale, Nick Stephenson and John Edwards, Towers formed Phoenix Venture Holdings (PVH) which bought Rover Group for £10 in April 2000. In addition they also bought the Studley Castle, a conference hotel.

They subsequently purchased Midland Powertrain, MG Rover's engine plant from BMW for £20. Finally, for £50 along with an undisclosed sum from the Royal Bank of Scotland, they purchased Rover Capital, (now MG Rover Capital) a book of Rover car loans.

Kevin Howe was appointed MG Rover's Managing Director in July 2000.

In April 2005, MG Rover went into administration, following the collapse of takeover talks with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). Towers was heavily criticised for his role in the company's demise,[1] and the Phoenix Consortium's conduct relating to Rover Group was initially referred to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), although after initial investigations the SFO concluded that no further action would be taken. Following publication of a government report[1] into the failure of MG Rover, Towers - along with the other directors of Phoenix - have been disqualified from holding any company office in the United Kingdom or have undertaken not to do so. [2][3]

Towers, together with the other members of PVH, ran MG Rover into the ground[neutrality is disputed] until it finally collapsed with the loss of 6,500 jobs. PVH gave members of management "unreasonably large" payouts, a government-commissioned report found, which were "out of all proportion". Towers awarded himself £8.958m whilst many employees lost their lifetime jobs - leaving with nothing.[4]

Nanjing Automobile subsequently brought MG out of administration, but have since moved production to China.


  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 14 September 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "'Phoenix Four' MG Rover directors to be banned" 11 Sep 2009
  3. ^ "Management ban for Phoenix Four" 9 May 2009
  4. ^ "Rover bosses attacked over payout" 11 Sep 2009