Dec 1, 2014
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Tesco CEO Dave Lewis to lead UK business

Dec 1, 2014

LONDON, United Kingdom - Tesco, the British grocer reeling from an accounting scandal, has announced a new management structure that will see new group chief executive Dave Lewis take over the day to day leadership of its main UK operation on a temporary basis.

Former Unilever executive Lewis became Tesco CEO on Sept. 1 and three weeks later revealed the firm had overstated expected first half profit.

That led to the suspension of eight senior members of staff, including UK managing director Chris Bush, and sparked a series of investigations, including by Britain's Serious Fraud Office.

Tesco said on Monday that one of the eight, Matt Simister, will return to his role as group food sourcing director.

"We asked Matt to step aside to facilitate our recent investigation into commercial income recognition," said Lewis.

"During our work it became clear that Matt, in fact, worked tirelessly to resolve the issues we faced."

A spokesman for Tesco said four of the remaining seven suspended senior managers had now left the company for good but declined to name the individuals.

Other media reported that Bush, Kevin Grace, group commercial director, Carl Rogberg, UK finance director, and John Scouler, UK food commercial director, were the four that had departed.

In changes to Tesco's executive committee that will take effect on Jan. 1, Robin Terrell, the firm's multi-channel director who stepped in to temporarily lead the UK business in September, will become Tesco's "head of customer".

Tesco said Jason Tarry, formerly head of clothing, had been appointed "head of commercial" for the UK and the group, while Jill Easterbrook, currently chief customer officer, had been appointed to lead the grocer's business transformation programme.

Benny Higgins will take on responsibility for group strategy in addition to his role leading Tesco Bank.

Tesco said the changes meant two other senior managers will be leaving the business - chief creative officer Matt Atkinson and group business and planning and strategy director David Hobbs.

The grocer, which has seen its market value halve after the accounting errors compounded a succession of profit warnings, is also facing possible investor lawsuits both in Britain and the United States.

Tesco's immediate priority is to stem its loss of market share through the key Christmas period.

Industry data published last month showed Tesco's sales were still falling, though the rate at which it was losing market share had at least slowed. 

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