Expert Blog by Karen Coleman: Advising HR Managers to ensure smooth exit strategies for senior executives

Settlement agreements have hit the headlines with the revelation that several employees of Sir Philip Green were given payments in exchange for their silence amid allegations of bullying or sexual harassment.

Despite the controversy surrounding this case, the reality is that settlement agreements are commonplace for less controversial reasons when senior staff leave companies.

HR managers often seek support from an Employment Lawyer to ensure that exit arrangements run smoothly and all loose-ends are tied up. This can involve agreements around commercial confidentiality and any claims around such matters as contractual entitlements to bonus payments, shares, commission, and payments in lieu of holiday.

The key is clarity, so that employer and employee know exactly what is covered by the severance offer.

Karen said: “It is very common for a settlement to be negotiated when senior executives and directors leave a company. It is important to put in place an agreement which clearly states the terms of exit. This is helpful to both parties and will generally end any possibility that an exit could lead to an employment tribunal and the potential public fall out that could occur.

“Companies may wish to include a confidentiality agreement and, unlike in the Sir Philip Green case, this is simply to ensure that confidential company information does not get leaked to competitors. There may also be a need to include a clause which prevents a former employee setting up in competition for a certain period after leaving.”


Karen’s support during the planned exit of a senior manager was vital. Karen considers the protection of our business and handles the psychological reaction of the individual with care and attention – making the discussions easy and seamless. Karen’s knowledge of our organization and experience of handling sensitive discussions with senior employees is what makes her advice and guidance invaluable.”

Added Karen: “I have employment law packages to suit companies of all sizes and have been consulted by executive teams and HR Managers on many occasions regarding the exit of senior executives.”

To find out more, please contact me by phone 01782 703052 or email, [email protected].