British directors at heart of scandal engulfing healthcare firm NMC

The growing scandal at NMC Health has left the FTSE 100 hospitals group battling for survival. 

It has also left founder and chairman BR Shetty’s dreams in tatters.

The Indian billionaire started NMC in the 1970s in the United Arab Emirates. He also founded Finablr, the finance group that owns Travelex.

Critical condition: NMC Health was once a darling of the stock market, but now finds itself under attack from hedge fund Muddy Waters

But his decision to list them both in London has brought scrutiny like never before.

And while NMC was once a darling of the stock market, it now finds itself under attack from hedge fund Muddy Waters.

In a further setback, Shetty this week stood back as chairman of NMC while an investigation clears up confusion over the exact size of his stake. The debacle has raised questions about the rest of the board. 

NMC Health Chairman BR Shetty started the hospitals group in the 1970s in the United Arab Emirates

NMC Health Chairman BR Shetty started the hospitals group in the 1970s in the United Arab Emirates

Carson Block, boss of Muddy Waters, claimed directors should have sounded the alarm about problems years ago ‘if they had been doing their job’.

Yesterday, he said: ‘We suspect that NMC’s outside directors were hand-picked for their sycophancy and incompetence.’

Here we reveal the British players at the heart of the crisis:


Joint chairman Mark Tompkins, 79, has been on NMC’s board since its float eight years ago.

He has been paid £1.4million since then – or £204,000 per year on average. An investment banker who started at London’s Samuel Montagu & Co, he worked at Slater Walker Securities in the 70s before it collapsed during the secondary banking crisis.

From 2007 to 2009 he was chairman of UK care provider Allied Healthcare International and also at Healthcare Enterprise Group from 2005 to 2008, a health products firm which collapsed in 2011.

At Healthcare Enterprise, Tompkins received as much as £180,000 in 2007 including a £165,000 ‘consultancy’ fee paid to his firm Thurloe Capital Partners. With Shetty temporarily stepping back from board duties, Tompkins is sole chairman.


Jonathan Bomford is the senior independent director.

He joined in 2013 and has been paid nearly £503,000 since then. The 71-year-old chartered accountant was an auditor at Ernst & Young (EY) for nearly 39 years, eventually becoming a partner.

He is currently a business mentor at Prince Charles’s Prince’s Trust as well, according to NMC’s website. But Muddy Waters has singled out Bomford as one of the directors it believes is not truly ‘independent’.

The short-seller points out EY – his former employer – has been NMC’s auditor and that Bomford is also on the board of Finablr, another Shetty company.

Noting that Abdul Rahman Basaddiq, also formerly of EY, is an independent director too, Muddy Waters likened NMC to ‘the retirement plan for former Ernst & Young partners’.


Patrick James Meade, previously known as Lord ‘Paddy’ Gillford, is the 8th Earl of Clanwilliam, a title dating back to when Britain ruled Ireland.

The Old Etonian, 59, is an independent non-executive and has been paid £583,400 since 2012.

He is chairman of NMC’s audit committee which is responsible for scrutinising the company’s books, despite having ‘no apparent accounting experience’, Muddy Waters said.

Clanwilliam was previously chairman of London-listed Eurasia Drilling Company, which was bought by Russian oligarch shareholders for a price some investors claimed was heavily-discounted. 

He maintained he was acting as an independent figure when recommending the offer, when in fact he was a board member on one of the buyer’s companies.

The peer, who once served with the Coldstream Guards, is also chairman of oil and gas firm Angus Energy and has close ties with the Tory party.

He backed David Cameron’s bid to be Conservative leader in 2005 and donated £10,000 to the party five years later. 

He has been described by friends as an eccentric, and likened to Mr Toad in Wind In The Willows.

After his second marriage in 1995, he is said to have whisked his wife away in a pink tank. And he reportedly once shot one of his fingers off at a stag do in 1989.


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