The arrival of new chairman John Allan at Tesco will allow CEO Dave Lewis to get on with the day-to-day business of leading its recovery without worrying about a void in the boardroom, analysts said this week.
Despite some expressing disappointment at his relative lack of recent food retail experience, Allan’s appointment was welcomed by most experts, though some were surprised ex-Asda boss and ITV chairman Archie Norman did not get the job.
Allan is best known for overseeing the turnaround of Dixons Retail after taking over as chairman in 2009, having begun his career in marketing at Lever Bros. He will stand down from the board of the now merged Dixons Carphone, as well as the board of Royal Mail, and replace Sir Richard Broadbent - seen as a lame duck chairman since revealing in October he was to stand down amid the continuing crisis following the £263m black hole in Tesco’s finances.
Lewis also faced criticism at his lack of food retail background after moving from Unilever, but Allan’s appointment was not just about retail credentials but boardroom skills, said Bernstein analyst Bruno Monteyne. “Allan has got lots of relevant experience and is a great person to have in the role,” he said. “Remember his job is not to fix Tesco but ensure a good team manages the business.”
Shore Capital analyst Clive Black said Allan’s arrival would allow Lewis to “pick up the ball and run”.
Allan spent eight years at Fine Fare in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was the retail director for marketing, buying and retail operations at the ABF subsidiary, before going on to lead the Dixons and Carphone Warehouse merger.
Black said Tesco now had “a near complete management jigsaw” in place.