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Tesco's leader may resign after the supermarket chain's huge accounting blunder

Sir Richard Broadbent could step down following investigations into the €320 million mistake: report.

Sir Richard Broadbent
Sir Richard Broadbent
Image: Tesco PLC

TESCO’S CHAIRMAN COULD resign after investigators finish digging into the troubled supermarket company’s finances.

The Wall Street Journal reported Sir Richard Broadbent, who has headed the board of the retail giant for nearly three years, would consider standing down at the end of a probe into Tesco’s recent €320 million accounting mistake.

It follows the news yesterday that the UK-based company was beefing up its board with two retail heavy hitters, including the former boss of Ikea, after a series of shocks for its investors.

Four of the company’s senior executives have already been stood down in the wake of the financial scandal.

Broadbent previously served as deputy chairman of Barclays Bank and on the board of transport company Arriva, and has been criticised in some circles for the lack of retail experience he brought to Tesco.

He did not comment on the latest article, but yesterday he said the “broad skills and experience” of the two new board members would be a real asset to the company.

“(They) have been updated on and are wholly supportive of the steps being taken by the new management team to rebuild trust in Tesco and to focus all the resources of the business to deliver value to our customers,” he said.

Tesco has shed nearly two thirds of its value since late 2007 and its share price has been in free fall this year as a string of profit warnings – including September’s announcement of the massive accounting mistake – slashed its worth in half.

Tesco share Source: Tesco

Getting hit from all sides

Locally, Tesco’s position as Ireland’s top supermarket has been under assault as SuperValu closed to within 0.5% of the market leader in its share of the total customer spend according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel Ireland consumer survey.

The two big discount chains, Aldi and Lidl, have been making quick inroads into both the UK and Irish markets following massive advertising blitzes from the German retailers.

The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority has announced an investigation into Tesco’s financial reporting, on top of the independent probe the supermarket company already launched off its own bat.

READ: Tesco in redundancy discussions over ‘small number of roles’

READ: Companies too worried about themselves, not enough about jobless: Tesco boss

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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