Tesco ex-boss Dave Lewis knighted in New Year Honours

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Dave Lewis. (Jack Taylor/Getty Images/File Photo)

Dave Lewis, the former boss of Tesco, has been knighted in the 2021 New Year Honours List.

Lewis, who stepped down as Tesco group chief executive in September this year, is credited with the turnaround of the retailer since 2014 when he took charge in the midst of the accounting scandal.

He will receive a Knights Bachelor award for services to the food industry and to business.

Similar to the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, the latest list also includes several names from the grocery industry, recognising the frontline role of shop workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Melanie Smith and Jo Whitfield, chief executives of Ocado Retail and Co-Op Food respectively, have been awarded with CBE for their services to retail and the food supply chain during the Covid-19 response.

Jo Whitfield (L) and Melanie Smith

Chris Tyas has won an OBE for his effective leadership of the Food Resilience Industry Forum, a working group established by the Defra in March as the country went into the first pandemic lockdown. A Nestlé veteran, Tyas has worked with leading retailers, manufacturers and distributors to unblock the supply chain when the store shelves went empty as result of panic buying.

Steve Clarke, managing director of Bidfood Wholesale, has awarded an MBE for services to the vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic. The leading foodservice wholesaler has partnered with the government to deliver boxes of essential food to most clinically vulnerable people who were shielded.

Asda has won big, with eight colleagues being honoured for their Covid-19 response, after an equal number from the supermarket group awarded in the Birthday Honours List.

Half of the retailer’s winners are from its online team, with Daniel Owens, online grocery development manager at Asda, leading the pack with an MBE. Sarah Cairns, senior programme manager at Asda Online Grocery and James Cameron and Rafal Olbert, both data scientists, have won BEMs.

Paul Miller, Asda’s senior manager for health, safety and environment, has awarded an MBE, and June Walker and Rachel Webber, community champions at Donnington Wood and Gosport stores, respectively, have won BEMs. Sarah Joyce, superintendent optometrist at Asda has also honored with a BEM.

Nicholas Speight, HR leader at the Co-operative Group, and Joanne Gates, store manager at Romford South Street Co-op store, joined their chief executive Whitfield in the list. Speight has won an MBE and Gates, a BEM.

Four store workers from Morrisons have been awarded the BEM. Pamela Abbot of Leeds, Ella Collins of Springthorpe, South Yorkshire, Michelle Leary of Basingstoke, Hampshire and Myra Smith of Dumfries are all working as community champions at the supermarket.

Marks and Spencer has also seen four of its colleagues being honoured with BEM. They are: Rebecca Gorman, store manager in Manchester, Louise Hadley, section manager in Harborne, Birmingham, Gemma Normensell, facilities manager in Castle Donington, and Azizur Rahman, foods section manager in London.

Representing the independent sector, Linda Carrington, a Spar manager in Hull, and Keith Rutherford, postmaster at Colonsay Post Office, have been awarded with BEM.

The Honours List highlights how the business sector as a whole has stepped up to deliver for the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. From small business owners diverting their resources or changing business models to support the response effort to supermarket workers making sure all their vulnerable customers were stocked up with essential items – the list showcases 111 recipients (9%) being recognised for services to business and the economy.