Simon English: Tesco pays the price of Sir Terry's over-ambition
Thursday 18 April 2013
Outlook Should Tesco investors sue Sir Terry Leahy?
If this were America – let's be glad that it isn't – they probably already would have.
Sir Terry's final, hubristic act as boss of the supermarket was to lead a charge into the US, presumably on the assumption it is a nation desperately short of food, where folk just don't eat enough.
The line spun by Tesco to UK hacks and analysts – with some success – was that US supermarkets are no good. Tesco would show them how it should be done. That's got to go down in history as one of the worst misreadings of a business situation ever.
In theory, Tesco did masses of research before making the leap stateside, but it's hard to see that this research was objective, otherwise they'd have noted that lots of US supermarkets are better than ours and that Wal-Mart is quite a handy retailer and may have already spotted such opportunities for expansion as there were.
Instead, presumably, the executives dispatched to America to compile data looked for evidence to back-up what Sir Terry had already decided they were going to do anyway.
The end of Tesco's tale of over ambition came yesterday with news of the writedown for the losses in America. About £2bn in all.
Now if a banker had lost that much of shareholders' money, there's little doubt in the present climate that there would be calls for retribution of some sort.
A class-action lawsuit perhaps. The return of the knighthood.
Tesco might say that Sir Terry acted in good faith. But then, so did Fred Goodwin.
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
peoplePrepare to be entranced by worms as the molecular biologist gets ready to give the Royal Institution science lectures
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
Ten best places to live in the UK: Hart in Hampshire takes top spot
The gathering storm: A look back on middle-class Europe's last carefree Christmas before the onset of World War One
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
- 1 Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
- 5 Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£90000 per annum + benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Manager - Financial Servic...
£59999 - £80001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top 10 firm in ...
£50000 - £75000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manage...
£60000 - £90000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...