Tesco chair to step down amid misconduct allegations

19th May 2023 | Jack Oliver

Tesco has announced that John Allan will be stepping down as chair, with the supermarket giant stating claims of misconduct “risk becoming a distraction”.

The Guardian has previously reported that Allan had been accused of inappropriate behaviour by four women. The Tesco chair “vigorously denied” three of these claims but “unreservedly apologised” for one. The latter regarded comments made about a female staff member at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) while he was president of the lobbying group.

One allegation regarded his behaviour at Tesco’s annual general meeting (AGM) in 2022. The retailer said it had conducted an “extensive review” of the incident. Tesco employees had been invited to come forward if they had any concerns, especially regarding the 2022 AGM.

“This review has not identified any evidence or complaints in relation to John at the Tesco 2022 AGM or at all in his tenure as Tesco chair”, the retailer said.

Allan will be stepping down from his roles as chair of the board and director at Tesco’s AGM on June 16. He was appointed in 2015 and was due to step down soon, with a succession planning process having already been initiated.

Byron Grote, a senior independent director (SID) and chair of Tesco’s audit committee, has been confirmed as interim chair. He said: “John has made a valuable contribution to Tesco during his 8 years as Chair. He has successfully led the Board through the turnaround and Covid whilst helping to rebuild the business. While we have received no complaints about John’s conduct and made no findings of wrongdoing, these allegations risk becoming a distraction to Tesco.”

SID Stewart Gilliland will be leading the process to appoint a permanent chair.


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