Home Business Ex-Tesco boss says he has been 'propelled under the nearest bus' after being accused of misconduct

Ex-Tesco boss says he has been 'propelled under the nearest bus' after being accused of misconduct

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In his first broadcast interview since the controversy erupted, the 74-year-old, who headed the supermarket giant for eight years, tells Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme there is „absolutely no substance” to the claims about his behaviour.
Sunday 18 June 2023 13:36, UK
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Former Tesco chairman John Allan – who was forced to step down over misconduct allegations – has insisted he is „completely innocent”, but admits making „an ill-judged remark”.
In his first broadcast interview since the controversy erupted with Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme, the 74-year-old, who headed the supermarket giant for eight years, said there was „absolutely no substance” in the claims about his behaviour.
Having also been requested to prematurely leave his post chairing housebuilder Barratt Developments, Mr Allan said the companies had felt it was easiest to „propel me under the nearest bus”.
Mr Allan also previously served as president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which has been rocked by a sexual misconduct scandal in recent months.
The business grandee had faced four claims over his personal conduct, three of which he strongly denies and one over which he „unreservedly apologised” for commenting on a female member of staff’s figure.
Tackled by Ridge over the other accusations levelled against him, he said: „There’s absolutely no substance in any of these allegations. I am completely innocent.”
Mr Allan said: „I think companies actually feel under a lot of pressure when this sort of thing happens.
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„I think in my particular case, I think the companies that I was chair of while saying lots of nice things about all the amazing things I’ve done for them over the eight or nine years I’ve been involved with them, frankly felt they had to be seen to be to do something, and the simplest and easiest thing was to propel me under the nearest bus.
„Now, having crawled out from two successive buses and still standing, I’m going to plan over the next few months to talk to a lot of people who know a lot more about this than me to sort of see if we can devise a better way so the next person who is subject to this sort of allegation is more fairly treated.”
He added: „I don’t think I was particularly fairly treated, but that’s life.”
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‘I wish to heck I had never used the word figure’
Pressed over the one complaint he acknowledged about commenting on a woman’s appearance in a dress at a CBI conference, Mr Allan said: „Well, I thought she was looking a bit sort of miserable and I wish to heck I had never used the word figure now and I never will again.
„I think if I had stopped by saying ‘that’s a very nice dress, it suits you very well’ I might not have gotten myself into the difficulties that I have, but it was well-intentioned, it was my intention to cheer her up.
„Obviously it was an ill-judged remark, it had the reverse thing.
„Having said that, I’ve talked to many women I know since then and most of them are absolutely incredulous about how somebody could be as upset as this lady appears to have been with what I said.
„What I’ve learnt I think is that one has to be terribly careful about what you say to people. So look, I put my hand up to that one. I said something with good intentions. It produced the wrong impact. I’ve learnt a lesson from that. I apologised for it immediately at the time unreservedly.”
Announcing his departure last month, Tesco said it made „no findings of wrongdoing” against Mr Allan, whose tenure was coming to an end anyway.
Barratt also stressed it had not received any complaints about Mr Allan during his time at the company.
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