Fifth Tesco exec to step aside over profit report

A fifth Tesco executive has been asked to step aside over a recent overstatement of profits. Picture: PA
A fifth Tesco executive has been asked to step aside over a recent overstatement of profits. Picture: PA
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TESCO has asked another senior executive to step aside as part of the investigation into its recent £250 million overstatement of profits.

The Financial Times reported that commercial director Kevin Grace is the fifth executive to be suspended from duty while Deloitte carries out an independent review into the accounting black hole. Tesco declined to comment.

Four senior executives, including UK managing director Chris Bush, were asked to step aside two weeks ago when Tesco revealed that its most recent profits warning to the City in August was much too optimistic.

New chief executive Dave Lewis said at the time that the suspensions would allow the company to carry out a ‘’full and frank’’ investigation and was not disciplinary or an indication of guilt.

Mr Grace, who joined Tesco in 1982, joined the executive committee in 2011 and has responsibility for commercial practice across its markets and sourcing from more than 70 countries worldwide.

He has held a number of roles including Tesco’s chief operating officer in South Korea and UK property director.

As well as the review by Deloitte, Tesco is the subject of an investigation by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Britain’s biggest supermarket group has issued a series of profit warnings as the sector faces a price war amid a squeeze on market share from discount retailers Aldi and Lidl.

Last week it emerged that more than 4,000 head office and corporate staff were being sent to work one day a fortnight on the shop floor in the run-up to Christmas, in an initiative by Mr Lewis to try to reconnect those running the group with customers.

And the retailer beefed up its board this week by appointing Richard Cousins, chief executive of catering giant Compass, and Mikael Ohlsson, former boss of Ikea, as non-executive directors.