The UK’s biggest supermarket chain Tesco has appointed a new chairman after his predecessor stepped down amid allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Dr Gerry Murphy, current chairman of luxury fashion brand Burberry and Tate & Lyle, the ingredients maker, is to replace John Allan in the top job, Tesco said.
He will take up the role on September 1 when he steps down from Tate & Lyle.
Mr Murphy has previously served as a non-executive director of companies including British American Tobacco, Merlin Entertainments, Novar, Abbey National and Reckitt Benckiser, Tesco added.
In a statement, he said: “I am delighted to join the Tesco board as its chair.
“Tesco has a very important role to play in its markets, serving customers, communities and the planet a little better every day.
“I’m fully committed to helping Ken and the Tesco team deliver on this purpose and very excited about the strategic opportunities for growth across the Tesco group.
“I also want to pay tribute to my predecessor, John Allan, whom I have known for many years. John has left Tesco with its business, management and board in great shape and fit for the future.”
It comes after Tesco announced that Mr Allan would be standing down from the helm of its board in June as it said the allegations of misconduct by the businessman “risk becoming a distraction”.
Mr Allan, 74, faced four allegations over his personal conduct, three of which he “vehemently” denies, and one over which he “unreservedly apologised” for inappropriate comments made to a female member of staff.
The Guardian reported in May that it had been approached by four women claiming Mr Allan’s behaviour had been inappropriate or unprofessional.
The newspaper reported claims that Mr Allan allegedly touched a senior staff member’s bottom at last year’s shareholder meeting.
He was also accused of allegedly touching the bottom of a member of staff at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) in May 2019.
Mr Allan, who was chairman of the supermarket giant for eight years, in June claimed that the easiest thing for Tesco to do was “propel me under the nearest bus”, adding: “I don’t think I was particularly fairly treated.”
Mr Allen was previously president of the CBI, which has been hit by multiple sexual misconduct allegations in recent months.
The supermarket said it made “no findings of wrongdoing” against Mr Allan, whose tenure was coming to an end anyway.
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