Supermarket Tesco has appointed the City veteran Gerry Murphy as chair to replace John Allan, who stepped down after allegations of inappropriate behaviour.
Murphy, who chairs the luxury fashion retailer Burberry and the sugar company Tate & Lyle, will join Tesco on Sept 1. He will relinquish his role at Tate & Lyle at the same time.
Allan, who chaired Tesco for eight years, stood down at the retailer’s annual general meeting in mid-June, after the Guardian reported that he allegedly touched the bottom of a senior member of Tesco staff in June 2022, at the company’s general meeting.
Murphy was “the unanimous choice of the board and will bring to our board a record of strong and effective boardroom leadership and a deep understanding of retail and consumer-focused businesses and corporate governance”, stated Byron Grote, who has served as Tesco’s interim chair. Grote will return to his previous position as senior independent director at Tesco and chair of the audit committee.
Murphy has previously worked as chief executive of the B&Q owner, Kingfisher, the media group Carlton Communications, the logistics firm Exel and the Irish food business Greencore Group. Before that, he ran the private equity group Blackstone’s European arm and had his first job at Bank of Ireland as a bank assistant. He also founded, and later sold, several businesses, including Great Gas Petroleum.
Murphy joins Tesco at a time when supermarkets are under pressure to do more to alleviate the cost of living crisis, amid accusations from politicians and trade unions of “greedflation” – the practice of using high inflation as cover to raise prices further.