Tesco boss steps down after being accused of inappropriate behaviour by four women

19 May 2023, 16:02

Tesco has announced that its chairman John Allan will step down from his role next month
Tesco has announced that its chairman John Allan will step down from his role next month. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Tesco boss John Allan has quit after being accused of inappropriate behaviour by four women.

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Tesco said allegations of misconduct "risk becoming a distraction" for the business.

The supermarket said it had conducted a thorough review of Mr Allan's behaviour during Tesco's annual general meeting in 2022 and found no evidence or complaints in relation to the AGM, "or at all in his tenure as Tesco chair".

Mr Allan has faced four allegations in the media in relation to his personal conduct, three of which he "vigorously denied", and one over which he "unreservedly apologised" for inappropriate comments made to a female member of staff.

He will step down at Tesco's AGM on June 16 and the firm has begun looking for his successor.

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Mr Allan said: "It is with regret that I am having to prematurely stand down from my position as chair of Tesco Plc following the anonymous and unsubstantiated allegations made against me, as reported by The Guardian.

"These allegations are utterly baseless, as the internal procedures undertaken by Tesco prove.

"Tesco undertook an 'extensive internal review' which included inviting Tesco employees and ex-employees to come forward on an anonymous basis if they had concerns about my conduct.

"Tesco also conducted outreach to those who attended the meeting where the incident allegedly happened, and video footage of the meeting has also been reviewed.

"There is no evidence of any wrongdoing at that time or at any stage of my chairmanship at Tesco and I remain determined to prove my innocence."

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Byron Grote, who has stepped in as interim chair following the announcement of Mr Allan's departure, said: "John has made a valuable contribution to Tesco during his eight 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.

"On behalf of the board, I thank him for his substantial contribution to the business.

"We are well advanced in our search for a new chair and will make an announcement in due course."

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