Tesco chair John Allan to step down following misconduct claims

Tesco’s chair, John Allan, is to step down subsequent month after eight years within the function following allegations about his behaviour in direction of ladies that risked “turning into a distraction” to the UK’s largest grocery store chain.

Allan, additionally a former president of the CBI enterprise foyer group, denies three separate allegations of inappropriate conduct. He “unreservedly” apologised for a fourth allegation through which he admitted to telling a feminine CBI worker that her gown “suited her determine”.

The grocery store group has began on the lookout for his successor and would conclude the method “within the close to future”, it stated.

Allan will step down on June 16 at Tesco’s annual assembly. Byron Grote, the grocery store’s senior impartial director, will grow to be interim chair.

The three allegations denied by Allan embody two separate alleged incidents of touching a girl’s backside at a CBI dinner in Could 2019 after which throughout Tesco’s annual shareholder assembly in June final yr. Allan has additionally denied a declare that in 2021 he made feedback a couple of lady’s backside.

Tesco on Friday stated it didn’t establish any proof or complaints in relation to the AGM or Allan’s behaviour throughout his tenure after it launched “an intensive overview of the allegation”, which was reported by The Guardian newspaper earlier this month.

Tesco stated it acquired in contact with attendees on the assembly, together with former staff, to ask them to come back ahead if that they had issues.

The Guardian report got here within the wake of the scandal that has engulfed the CBI. The lobbying group’s future is now unsure after greater than a dozen ladies made complaints a couple of poisonous tradition on the group, in addition to allegations of sexual harassment, bullying and different office misconduct.

Allan stated in a press release on Friday: “It’s with remorse that I’m having to prematurely stand down from my place as chair of Tesco Plc following the nameless and unsubstantiated allegations made in opposition to me, as reported by the Guardian. These allegations are totally baseless, as the interior procedures undertaken by Tesco show.”

He added: “Tesco undertook an ‘intensive inside overview’ which included inviting Tesco staff and ex-employees to come back ahead on an nameless foundation if that they had issues about my conduct. Tesco additionally carried out outreach to those that attended the assembly the place the incident allegedly occurred, and video footage of the assembly has additionally been reviewed. There is no such thing as a proof of any wrongdoing at the moment or at any stage of my chairmanship at Tesco and I stay decided to show my innocence.”

Grote praised the 74-year-old for his “precious contribution to Tesco” however stated the current allegations “danger turning into a distraction” to the corporate. He added that the board’s seek for a brand new chair was “effectively superior”. In response to earlier experiences, Allan was as a consequence of step down early subsequent yr.

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