Tesco’s senior independent director Patrick Cescau is planning to step down from the board of the troubled supermarket next year, according to reports.
Cescau, who is thought to have been closely involved in the hiring of Tesco’s new chief executive Dave Lewis and the exit of its former boss Philip Clarke, is leading the search for a replacement for outgoing chairman Richard Broadbent. He is expected to stand down once he has completed that job.
The senior non-executive’s departure is the latest move in a wave of management changes at Tesco since Lewis’s arrival and the revelation of a £263m accounting black hole relating to the misbooking of supplier payments, a matter now being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office.
Another board member, Ken Hanna, chairman of Tesco’s audit committee, is to leave the company, while Richard Cousins, a head of catering group Compass, and Mikael Ohlsson, a former boss of Ikea, have recently joined.
Earlier this week Lewis said he was personally taking charge of the day-to-day running of Tesco’s UK business, which generates the majority of the group’s profits. He replaces Chris Bush, the former UK managing director, who was suspended in September in the wake of the accounting scandal. Bush and three others who stepped aside at that time have all now left.
Lewis’s decision to take the reins followed the disastrous handling of Tesco’s Black Friday sales when police were called to restore order in at least 16 stores where staff were overwhelmed by bargain hunting customers. A senior policeman later referred to the scenes in some of its supermarkets as akin to a mini-riot and scolded senior executives for not planning the event effectively.
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