Tesco's Philip Clarke, the loneliness of the chief executive

The CEO is having a difficult time.

 

Philip Clarke took over as chief executive of Tesco in March 2011. At that point, Tesco was still the champion of food retailing in the UK, and had been for nearly 20 years. But in Christmas 2011, Tesco recieved the worst trading figures in decades.

According to Philip Clarke, it wasn't his fault. In fact, Tesco had been doing badly for some time. As he told the FT on Wednesday:

For five years we had underperformed the industry in like-for-like terms..[I was]...looking at colleagues who are running stores, some I have been working with for as much as 20 years, and seeing them unable to do the right things for customers, because they didn’t have the [staff] hours that they needed. 

This is at odds, though, with Mr Clarke's statement in April 2011, in which he said that Tesco's issues were not structural, and he had inherited a fantastic legacy. He explains his change of heart to the FT in rather vague terms:

A year ago I was as clear about the great inheritance as I was about the fact that the UK needed to get back to being strong and growing.

Speaking of the overhaul by which he plans to address Tesco's fall from grace, he said:

You learn of the loneliness of being a chief executive.

 

Philip Clarke, Getty images
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Tory Brexiter Daniel Hannan: Leave campaign never promised "radical decline" in immigration

The voters might not agree...

BBC Newsnight on Twitter

It was the Leave campaign's pledge to reduce EU immigration that won it the referendum. But Daniel Hannan struck a rather different tone on last night's Newsnight. "It means free movement of labour," the Conservative MEP said of the post-Brexit model he envisaged. An exasperated Evan Davis replied: “I’m sorry we’ve just been through three months of agony on the issue of immigration. The public have been led to believe that what they have voted for is an end to free movement." 

Hannan protested that EU migrants would lose "legal entitlements to live in other countries, to vote in other countries and to claim welfare and to have the same university tuition". But Davis wasn't backing down. "Why didn't you say this in the campaign? Why didn't you say in the campaign that you were wanting a scheme where we have free movement of labour? Come on, that's completely at odds with what the public think they have just voted for." 

Hannan concluded: "We never said there was going to be some radical decline ... we want a measure of control". Your Mole suspects many voters assumed otherwise. If immigration is barely changed, Hannan and others will soon be burned by the very fires they stoked. 

I'm a mole, innit.