Cadbury workers will be “surprised and disappointed” by the knighthood awarded to the businessman who sold the British chocolate-maker to US food giant Kraft, a union has said.
Roger Carr, 64, who is also chairman of British Gas owner Centrica, was recognised in the New Year Honours List for services to business.
But the gong sparked controversy after a year in which he presided over a huge increase in profits and a customer price hike at British Gas as well as the hotly disputed takeover of Cadbury.
Trade union Unite said Sir Roger did not deserve an award after allowing the “iconic” confectionery firm to be sold to Kraft with resulting job losses.
Jennie Formby, the union’s national officer for food and drink, said: “I am sure that the thousands of Unite members working on Cadbury sites throughout the UK and Ireland will be surprised and disappointed to learn that Roger Carr is being honoured in the New Year Honours List.
“Under his leadership he allowed this iconic British company to be taken over by Kraft, a highly leveraged company that has already cut hundreds of jobs since taking over in February and which will undoubtedly be looking for further cuts to help pay down their huge debts.
“But whilst these long-serving men and women were collecting their P45s, Roger Carr was off to pastures new with his golden handshake burning a hole in his pocket, his initial principled opposition to the sale having disappeared as soon as the price was right.
“It is our members, the workers of Cadbury, whose hard work and decades of loyalty should be receiving recognition and honours. Roger Carr certainly does not deserve any awards.”
Sir Roger, who became Cadbury chairman in 2008, at first tried to fend off Kraft’s attempts to buy the chocolate-maker by dismissing its “derisory” opening offer out of hand. But his first responsibility was to the shareholders, and when the American conglomerate improved its bid by more than £1 billion he said it represented good value for investors.
Other honours for leading figures from the business world include knighthoods for Martin Broughton, chairman of British Airways, and Richard Lambert, the outgoing director-general of the CBI.