What are we to make of Tesco’s problems, which have seen four million pounds disappear from its market value and the suspension of four senior executives?
I think the answer must clearly be that its corporate governance systems are laughably amateurish. All those non-executive chaps and chappesses (well, just two of the latter, to be honest) with their strings of other non-exec positions. Gwyn Jones, for example, who (so Tesco’s website tells me) is also a director of HBO & Co. (UK) Ltd, INVESCO English and International Trust plc and has ‘interests’ in media and technology. Lady O’Cathain who is also a non-exec director of British Airways plc, BNP UK Holdings Ltd and Thistle Hotels plc. John Gardiner who is Chairman of Laird Group PLC and a non-executive director of 3i Group plc. And etc etc.
The trouble is that these people obviously have no idea how to handle CEOs or strategically manage a major retail business. I think we need a root-and-branch overhaul of the way that Tesco’s board of directors are chosen. Perhaps Tesco’s customers could have a say. I’m thinking of asking Lord Myners to offer some advice.