‘Men are nervous working with women’ claims ex-Tesco chair after facing accusations of inappropriate behaviour

19 June 2023, 16:26

The Tesco ex-chair has claimed men are 'cautious' about working with women in the workplace.
The Tesco ex-chair has claimed men are 'cautious' about working with women in the workplace. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

The former Tesco chairman, who left the company over accusations of inappropriate behaviour, has now claimed men feel they need to be “very cautious” when interacting with women in the workplace.

John Allan, 74, has claimed that men are “increasingly nervous about working with women” after he faced allegations of inappropriate behaviour last month.

Mr Allan stepped down as the chairman of Tesco in May after he was accused of inappropriate remarks and touching, which he has denied – but he has admitted to making a comment about one of his colleague’s bodies.

He had been head of the board since 2015.

But since stepping down, the former CBI boss has alleged men are growing “nervous” in the workplace around women.

He said: “A lot of men say to me they’re getting increasingly nervous about working with women, mentoring women, something I’ve done a lot of right through my career.

“What quite a few people are saying to me, and saying to others that I know, is that they’re going to be very cautious in future about how they interact with women in the business world.”

Mr Allan stepped down after it was reported that four women had accused him of inappropriate behaviour. He faced accusations of touching two staff members inappropriately in 2019 and 2022, where he allegedly “patted a woman on the bottom”.

He also lost his role as the chairman of Barrett Development after the allegations emerged for risks of creating a distraction.

Listen and subscribe to Unprecedented: Inside Downing Street on Global Player

John Allan was accused of inappropriate behaviour in a report last month.
John Allan was accused of inappropriate behaviour in a report last month. Picture: Alamy

Read more: John Allan to stand down as Barratt chairman after misconduct allegations

Read more: Tory MP David Warburton resigns after sex and drugs investigation - triggering new by-election headache for Sunak

Despite the accusations made, Mr Allan has maintained he is “completely innocent” and has claimed he has been “propelled under the nearest bus” and not been “fairly treated”.

He added: “I think the companies that I was chair of… frankly felt they had to be seen to be doing something, and the simplest and easiest thing was to propel me under the nearest bus.”

Although Tesco said it had made “no findings of wrongdoing” related to its former chairman, there were concerns the accusations would become a distraction.

It comes after the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also faced accusations of inappropriate behaviour, which Mr Allan was president of until 2020.

Mr Allan has argued that women’s progress in the workplace could be negatively impacted by how companies are handling sexual misconduct claims.

He said: “I think if it leads to over caution, it will actually be a negative.”

In May it was reported that a letter of support was being developed to show solidarity with Mr Allan and how he had helped women throughout the duration of his career.

More Latest News

See more More Latest News

Jessica Lawson drowned on a school trip in 2015

French lifeguard and local council found guilty of manslaughter after Brit girl, 12, drowned in lake on school trip

The scandal surrounding Strictly Come Dancing has deepened after footage showing former professional dancer James Jordan telling his celebrity partner Georgina Bouzova "kill you" surfaced on social media.

Ex-Strictly star James Jordan hits back after resurfaced training footage from show sparks backlash

Mark Rowley says the number of officers in the Met is falling

Met Police officer numbers drop as force calls for 'thousands of applicants' in new recruitment drive

Joe Biden has tested positive for Covid

Joe Biden cancels campaign event after testing positive for Covid-19

Starmer is set to push for a migrant return deal with the EU

Starmer to push for new migrant return deal with EU, as he seeks to 'renew UK's relationship with Europe' at summit

Keir Starmer faces a challenge over the two-child benefit cap

Keir Starmer seeks to stave off Labour backbench revolt over benefit cap with child poverty taskforce

A man has been shot dead in Kirkby

Man shot dead on residential street close to Liverpool training ground, as police launch murder investigation

Joe Biden has hinted he could step aside from the race against Donald Trump for the White House

Biden hints he could quit election race against Trump on medical advice, as top Democrat calls for him to stand down

The scandal surrounding Strictly Come Dancing has deepened after footage showing former professional dancer James Jordan telling his celebrity partner Georgina Bouzova "kill you" surfaced on social media.

Strictly scandal deepens as footage showing ex-pro telling partner he will 'kill her' emerges

Liz Truss

Reference to Truss' 'disaster' mini-budget removed from King's Speech files after ex-PM complains to civil service chief

Police found "over a dozen" firearms at Crooks' home

Thomas Crooks' father 'called police on the day of the Trump rally shooting'

Cameron Jones left his dying fiancee Demi by the side of the road

Moment driver flees from car wreckage leaving fiancee to die - before he later blames her for horror crash

Kim Johnson wants the two-child benefit cap to be scrapped

Labour MP calls for two-child benefit cap to be axed as she plans King's Speech amendment after policy retained

Adele has played 90 shows in Las Vegas

Adele announces she is stepping back from music after growing to ‘absolutely hate’ fame

Two British travel agents are believed to be the pair found shot dead and their bodies burned in a car in Malmo.

British travel agents thought to be pair shot dead and burned in car in Malmo

Two dead and two children in hospital after house fire in Blackpool

Two die and two children rushed to hospital after house fire in Blackpool