Tesco executives ‘leave company’


Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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Tesco is reported to have parted company with three of the eight executives who were asked to step aside amid its probe into a £263 million accounting black hole.

Sources told the Financial Times that group commercial director Kevin Grace, UK finance director Carl Rogberg and UK food commercial director John Scouler had left the company on Wednesday. Tesco declined to comment.

Britain’s biggest supermarket is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office over an overstatement of its half-year profit expectations.

It has suspended a number of executives after it first disclosed the error in September. They include UK managing director Chris Bush.

Chief executive Dave Lewis has said the suspensions were to allow a “full and frank” investigation and that they were not disciplinary or an indication of guilt.

A probe by Deloitte into the affair, which involved rebates from suppliers being moved around to different periods on the company’s accounts, found it had been overstating its profits for years and at least as far back as the 2012/13 period.

Chairman Sir Richard Broadbent has already said he is preparing to step down to show someone was “carrying the can” for the scandal, which he described as “a matter of profound regret”.

Pay-offs totalling around £2 million to departed chief executive Philip Clarke and former finance director Laurie McIlwee have been suspended pending investigations.

The scandal has dominated Mr Lewis’s tenure since he started as boss in September – as he battles sliding sales and tumbling earnings. Last month Tesco reported a 92% fall in half-year profits.

Mr Lewis has tried to draw a line under the accounting episode. But in its aftermath the supermarket has had to re-write its rules on dealing with suppliers and admitted this would have an impact on second half profits.

The chief executive has brushed off any suggestion of fraud in relation to the affair, saying no one had gained financially from it.

Published: Friday 28th November 2014 by The News Editor

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