Tesco chair John Allan has been accused of inappropriate and unprofessional behaviour by four women.
According to The Guardian, Allan allegedly touched the bottom of a senior member of Tesco staff at the grocer’s annual general meeting in June 2022, and a staff member at the Confederation of British Industry made a similar claim at its annual dinner in May 2019.
Two other female CBI staff members have alleged that Allan made inappropriate remarks in 2021 and in 2019 at the business lobbying group’s November conference.
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Allan has denied three of the allegations.
However, he admits to another claim, regarding a comment he made about a CBI staff member’s appearance in 2019, which she found to be offensive.
A spokesperson for Allan told The Guardian: “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.”
Allan, who has been chair of Tesco since 2015, was president of the CBI from 2018 to 2020 and sat as vice-president until October 2021.
A spokesperson for Tesco said: “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.”
“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,” they added.
The claims about Allan follow The Guardian’s investigation into the CBI, which revealed that a member of staff had allegedly been raped by a manager at one of the lobby group’s company events in 2019.
Asda, Sainsbury’s and M&S joined John Lewis and Unilever in halting their relationships with the organisation following a second sexual harassment allegation last month.