Tesco’s new chief executive Dave Lewis has said there is no evidence of personal financial gain in the accounting scandal that has rocked the grocer.
He also vowed that Tesco would stage a determined fightback to restore its fortunes.
As he unveiled Tesco’s delayed interim results, Lewis also said that monies owed to former chief executive Philip Clarke and former finance boss Laurie McIlwee are being withheld pending the conclusion of the investigation into a profits overstatement.
He also pointed out that no bonuses were paid in the past three years.
Lewis said: “We start from a position of market strength and there are lots of opportunities for us for the future. We were the best supermarket for customers and we will be again.”
“We need to rebuild trust and get back to the customer guiding everything we do.”
He said he will look back at what made Tesco great, and when its brand was its strongest. He cited the pioneering price initiatives of founder Jack Cohen, what former boss Lord MacLaurin did to change checkouts and the introduction of Clubcard by Sir Terry Leahy were all examples of when Tesco had powered forward by putting the customer first.
He said when a brand becomes weak it is either not true to its DNA or competitors force a business repositioning.
“With Tesco it is a bit of both,” he said. “And it is our job to rebuild the brand.”