Insolvency Service’s decision follows two similar disqualifications for other bosses

The former chief executive of Carillion has been banned from being a director for eight years for his conduct at the helm of the doomed contractor. 

Carillion had been the UK’s second biggest contractor and was working on 420 public sector contracts when it went bust in January 2018.  

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Richard Howson at the Parliamentary inquiry into Carillion’s collapse in 2018

Richard Howson, 55, led Carillion between 2011 and 2017. 

A statement released by the Insolvency Service said Howson caused the firm to report its financial statements “in a way which he ought to have known falsified and concealed the reality of the deterioration of the major contracts which in fact became loss-making”. 

Among a range of other failings, the service said Howson had “wrongly reported” certain payments as profits in breach of accounting standards, resulting in a £39m overstatement of profit and an understatement of net debt by £41m. 

“Mr Howson ought to have known of the false accounting, of the profit overstatement and of the net debt understatement and of the concealment from the auditors of the true picture regarding Carillion’s obligation to make repayments to Wipro,” the Insolvency Service said. 

Howson’s ban follows two other disqualifications issued by the Insolvency Service to former Carillion directors in the summer. 

Former finance chief Zafar Khan was disqualified for 11 months, while former group finance director Richard Adam was given a 12-and-a-half-year ban. 

Litigation against the remaining directors of the firm is ongoing, with a trial set to commence the week of 16 October.