The former chief executive of Tesco Sir Terry Leahy has added another job to his rapidly growing portfolio of interests in life since leaving the grocer: selling car tyres.
Sir Terry said he has taken a stake in Blackcircles and is providing "mentoring services on an ad hoc basis" to the internet retailer of tyres, including the Michelin, Dunlop and Pirelli brands.
The start-up offers customers fully fitted tyres at more than 975 contracted tyre-fitting outlets, making it the biggest such network in the UK. In fact, Tesco has had a partnership with Blackcircles since last year.
Blackcircles, which was founded by its current managing director, Michael Welch, in 2001, has been operating Tesco Tyres, the grocer's website for selling tyres, for the past nine months. Mr Welch is an acquaintance of Sir Terry. According to the website, Tesco Tyres was "created with one purpose – to make the purchase of new tyres as straightforward as possible while keeping prices highly competitive".
However, Sir Terry, who has been a shareholder in Blackcircles for around three years, stressed he played no role whatsoever in Tesco striking up its partnership with the online start-up. He said: "I had no hand in the business that Blackcircles won [with Tesco]." Sir Terry also informed Tesco's chairman, David Reid, when he took the stake in Blackcircles.
Since Sir Terry left Tesco he has invested in, or taken roles at, about 10 companies, mostly operating online. These include the online retailer The Hut; a website providing educational videos for GSCE students, Stuckonhomework.com; and a mobile coupon company, Eagle Eye Solutions.
In his 32 years at Tesco – the last 14 as chief executive – Sir Terry led the grocer's expansion into 13 countries outside the UK.