Tesco boss Philip Clarke set a good example to other company chiefs when he declined to take his bonus in the wake of the Christmas profit warning.

Tesco boss Philip Clarke set a good example to other company chiefs when he declined to take his bonus in the wake of the Christmas profit warning.

As the so-called ‘shareholder spring’ sweeps through UK business generally, Clarke went further than needed.

He would have been entitled to a payout of £372,000 – just under 14% of the maximum available – and his decision to take none of it sends a strong message not just to shareholders but to staff, who will still share £110m.

It shows Clarke is savvy to changing investor sentiment about director pay and sensitive to how it would play out in his shops to be seen as a fat cat, even though his bonus was reduced. It also signals his determination to improve the business. By showing he has skin in the game, and will suffer more than others if Tesco underperforms, he is restating his commitment to and belief in the giant grocer.

The irony is that, unlike some companies where executive rewards have risen despite poor performance, Tesco is not broken. It’s essential that the core UK division is put back on track but it should not be forgotten that Tesco actually posted record profits and sales last year.

Clarke and his team have been out seeing investors lately and his message seems to be going down well: change is underway at Tesco under Clarke’s leadership.

The retailer’s fortunes in its domestic market may not be transformed overnight, but Clarke’s decision on his bonus is a most powerful statement of intent and confidence.

Sunshine will return for Kingfisher

DIY giant Kingfisher was downgraded ahead of next week’s first-quarter update. It is likely to have suffered as a result of wet weather in its key markets, the UK and France, while the international retailer may also be affected by the eurozone’s political and economic uncertainty.

However, the City remains confident of Kingfisher’s prospects. Performance may be damp at present, but there should still be growth longer-term.