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Suspended Tesco director returns to post

Julia Rampen
Written By:
Julia Rampen

One Tesco director suspended following the firm’s £263m accounting error will return to his job at the retailer.

Matt Simister, one of eight executives suspended, will resume as group food sourcing director, the BBC reports. Tesco’s CEO Dave Lewis told staff that Simister had “worked tirelessly” to resolve the issues the firm faced

However, it is understood another four of the suspended executives have left the company, while the other three remain suspended.

Lewis told staff on Monday: “During our work it became clear that Matt, in fact, worked tirelessly to resolve the issues we faced. Matt is one of our most capable leaders, and I am confident his leadership will support our [future] agenda in commercial.”

“Finally, Matt’s conduct and contribution during our investigation was exemplary and I’d like to personally thank him for that.”

In September, Tesco admitted it had overstated its estimated half-year profits by an estimated £250m and suspended a number of senior employees. It blamed the mistake on an accelerated recognition of commercial income and delayed accrual of costs.

The Financial Conduct Authority and the Serious Fraud Office are investigating Tesco over the profit mis-statement. The firm also carried out an internal investigation.

Following the revelation, it also emerged that Tesco’s former chief financial officer did not complete his contract, and had in fact been absent since February. 

As well as reappointing Simister, Tesco has reshuffled its top team. Former chief customer officer Jill Easterbrook will lead the business transformation programme, while former multichannel director Robin Terrell will be head of customer and clothing head Jason Terry will move to head of commercial. The changes take effect on 1 January.

Tesco’s share price has fallen since the balance sheet hole was revealed – it is currently 183p, down from 229p in early September.