Tesco’s new chief financial officer, Alan Stewart, will join the grocer today after a deal was struck with Marks & Spencer to terminate his contract early.
Stewart is currently on gardening leave and had not been due to start at Tesco until December 1, but is being parachuted in early after Tesco was embroiled in an accounting scandal over the overstatement of its profits.
Tesco revealed its profit forecasts for the first half of the year were overstated by £250m after a whistle blower approached new chief executive Dave Lewis about the accounting irregularities.
Lewis warned the markets about the “serious issue” yesterday with the crisis emerging at a time when Tesco had no chief financial officer due its former CFO Laurie McIlwee leaving just over a week ago, following his resignation in April.
The deal to bring in Stewart early was brokered by Lewis directly with Marks & Spencer boss Marc Bolland, according to The Times.
Tesco’s accounts are usually audited by PwC, but it has brought in Deloitte and external legal adviser Freshfields to carry out an investigation into the overstatement of profit.
Tesco multichannel director Robin Terrell has stepped in to run the flagship UK business during the investigation.
Lewis would not confirm that UK boss Chris Bush is one of four people who have stepped aside in order to facilitate the inquiry, but said Terrell is “now running and leading the UK leadership team”.
The other three people to have been suspended are thought to be UK finance director Carl Rogberg, UK food commercial director John Scouler, and food sourcing director Matt Simister. It is also understood clothing boss Jason Tarry has taken over Scouler’s responsibilities.
Tesco discloses £250m overstatement of profit forecasts
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Tesco persuades M&S to release CFO Alan Stewart early amid accounting crisis