Dalton Philips heads for an early bath but Sir Ken’s attack was “ill-judged”

The backlash over Morrisons treatment of CEO Dalton Philips, who is being shown the door early after his firing last month, has begun. The Daily Mail carries an interview with a former chairman of the grocer who has blasted founder Sir Ken Morrison for his role in hounding out Philips. Sir Ian Gibson, who handed in his resignation last year, stepped down from Morrisons two weeks ago. He criticised Sir Ken’s outburst at an annual shareholder meeting when Morrison said Philips had been talking ‘bullshit’. “He said what he said,” Gibson told the Mail. “I think it was ill-judged, it was rude, it was unnecessary. I think Ken let himself down, he is the ex-chairman. I was sorry he did that, I was sorry for the company, but was sorry for Ken as well. I got on well with Ken – I could allow for it – others found him at times to be head-scratching.” (The Daily Mail)

A Telegraph comment piece pours cold water over the UK’s supermarkets recent improving performance, saying it will take a lot more than removing misty veg to get the turnaround on track. It notes Tesco is back in growth (0.3% according to the latest Kantar Worldpanel report) and Morrisons is performing at its best level for a year, but the “problems facing Britain’s supermarkets are far from over”. The 48% rise in Tesco’s share price looks “overblown” and fixing Morrisons will take much more than removing the misty veg introduced by outgoing CEO Dalton Philips. It also puts the poor performance of big four down to “strategic blunders, poor execution and a mismatch between demand for shopping at supermarkets and the number of stores in the country”. (The Telegraph)

However, a video interview on the Telegraph site has a UK fund manager throwing his support around Tesco after buying up shares in the ailing giant. Richard Buxton is backing the supermarket to revive its fortunes after being impressed with a meeting with CEO Dave Lewis. (The Telegraph)

A BBC magazine article takes a look at the effect of the “ghost” Tesco stores and how the plans to close shops across the UK changes people’s day-to-day lives. (BBC)

The pay packets of Ocado’s executive board come under scrutiny in the Guardian and the FT. The online grocer’s annual report showed the basic salary of the five executives increased but their cash bonuses fell as some financial and strategic targets were missed. However, the vesting of a share incentive scheme saw total remuneration soar to almost £20m, as reported in The Grocer yesterday. (The Guardian) (The Financial Times £) (The Grocer)