Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Business
7 March 2012

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

The CEO is having a difficult time.

By New Statesman

 

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:

Select and enter your email address Your weekly guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture every Saturday. The best way to sign up for The Saturday Read is via saturdayread.substack.com The New Statesman's quick and essential guide to the news and politics of the day. The best way to sign up for Morning Call is via morningcall.substack.com
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

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.

 

Content from our partners
<strong>What you need to know about private markets </strong>
Work isn't working: how to boost the nation's health and happiness
The dementia crisis: a call for action