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Tesco Chairman John Allan will step down at the group’s annual shareholders’ meeting next month, with Britain’s biggest retailer saying claims of inappropriate behavior against him risked becoming a distraction.
Allan, one of Britain’s highest-profile corporate names, has been Tesco’s chairman since 2015.
The supermarket group said on Friday that his tenure as chairman was in any case due to end shortly, with a succession planning process in progress and expected to conclude in the near future.
It said that pending the appointment of a new chairman, senior independent director Byron Grote will become interim chair and will chair Tesco’s annual general meeting on June 16.
Earlier this month, the Guardian newspaper reported that Allan was facing claims of inappropriate behavior from four women.
One of the allegations relates to Allan’s conduct at Tesco and three to his time at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), where he was president from 2018-2020.
Three of these allegations are vigorously denied by Allan, and for the other Allan unreservedly apologized for the comment he made, Tesco said.
“While we have received no complaints about John’s conduct and made no findings of wrongdoing, these allegations risk becoming a distraction to Tesco,” Grote said.
He thanked Allan for his “valuable contribution” to Tesco, noting he successfully led the board through its turnaround and the COVID-19 pandemic, whilst helping to rebuild the business.