Former Faulds chief Chester's 12-year directorship ban

IT HAS emerged that Dennis Chester, the former chairman of the failed Faulds Advertising, has been disqualified from being a company director for 12 years, in one of the longest banning orders that the Department for Trade and Industry has ever imposed.

He has also been forced to repay 640,000 of a 750,000 dividend paid to him by the company shortly before it hit financial difficulties in 2003.

It is believed that PricewaterhouseCoopers has now used the cash to pay a number of unsecured creditors. KPMG, which had been appointed receiver, pursued Chester through the Court of Session and would have sent a conduct report to the DTI on whether he was fit to be a director.

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It is not known what that report said but it is understood that the money was paid. The minimum period a director can face disqualification for is two years and the maximum 15 years.

Chester led a management buyout of the agency from founder Jim Faulds in December 2001, but it ran into trouble after the loss of key clients - particularly Kwik-Fit and Royal Bank of Scotland - and an attempted expansion in London after buying MMDH. It closed in September 2003 owing more than 3 million.

KPMG subsequently warned that Faulds' unsecured creditors, who were owed 2.7m, would get little or none of their money back if Chester kept the cash. He told a creditors' meeting at the time that the lawyers had indicated that KPMG had grounds to pursue Chester for repayment.

Faulds had not paid a dividend since 2001, when Jim Faulds still owned the agency. He started the firm in 1985 and in 2002, its last full year of trading, it made a profit before tax of 400,000 on a turnover of 19m.

Faulds is now a non-executive director of Dunfermline Building Society and the Newhaven agency, and was not involved in the firm when it collapsed.

Chester could not be reached for comment.