Tesco chair John Allan, as per a Guardian report, is facing allegations of “inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour”. According to the report, four women have accused the Tesco chairman of harassment.
Allan allegedly touched the bottoms of two female employees and made lewd, inappropriate comments towards the other two.
Reportedly, on the CBI annual day held in May 2019, he touched the bottom of one of the complainants. While Allan denied the charge, as per the Guardian report, an anonymous source claims to have witnessed the incident at the Brewery in London on 21 May 2019.
– Also in 2019, he made inappropriate comments about another complainant’s appearance, telling her that a dress “suited her figure”. A complaint about his remark was made to a manager. The Tesco chair accepts that this happened but claims that it was a case of a “misjudged way of seeking to cheer someone up.”
– The third complainant claims that Alan made inappropriate comments about her bottom. She alleges that he told her that her dress was making it hard for him to concentrate on anything else. This allegedly happened in 2021, and as per Guardian, a source has corroborated the events of the incident.
– A fourth complaint alleges that on June 17, 2022, at the company’s annual general meeting at Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, Allan touched a senior woman’s bottom.
The Tesco chief has denied all but one allegation and that one too he has chalked up to a “misjudged way” of trying to cheer the person.
Responding to the claims, his spokesperson said he was mortified about the one allegation he accepts and that other claims were “simply untrue”.
The company said that it hasn’t received any complaints about John Allan’s conduct at Tesco.
“In relation to John Allan’s conduct at Tesco’s 2022 AGM, Tesco has received no complaints or concerns formally or informally, including through our confidential Protector Line service.”
“At Tesco, we are committed to ensuring all colleagues are respected and feel safe at work. Tesco’s people policies apply to all colleagues, and all concerns or complaints raised about conduct are always taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly. This is a serious allegation, and if anyone has any concerns or information, we would ask them to share those with us through any of our reporting channels, including through our confidential Protector Line, so we can investigate,” it added.
“Mr Allan was mortified after making the comment in 2019 and he immediately apologised. The person concerned agreed the matter was closed and no further action was taken. Regarding the other claims, they are simply untrue,” his spokesperson said.
“Even so, Mr Allan requested that Tesco and Fox Williams – who were instructed by the CBI to conduct an investigation following various allegations – investigate them. Fox Williams decided not to, and Tesco is not aware of and has not received any complaints about Mr Allan’s conduct either at the 2022 AGM or over the eight years that he has been chair of Tesco.”