A fifth Tesco executive has been suspended as part of the on-going £250 million black hole accounting scandal.
Kevin Grace, the supermarket’s commercial director, was removed from his position yesterday as investigators from Deloitte and law firm Freshfields continued combing through the emails of every buyer at the company’s head office.
His suspension comes as it was revealed private-equity giant TPG approached Tesco several months ago over a possible bid for Dunnhumby, which runs the supermarket’s Clubcard marketing business.
Bankers believe the business is worth more than £2 billion, having been bought by Tesco in 2004 and has since seen the Clubcard model sold around the world.
It could be put on the chopping block by new boss Dave Lewis as part of his review into the company, along with its online on-demand music and film service Blinkbox.
Less than a month into the job Lewis was approached by a whistleblower who pointed out that huge supplier payments were being banked into the wrong reporting period to boost the company’s profits.
Grace, pictured, ran the department where the payments took place, but only John Scouler, food commercial director and Matt Simister, head of sourcing, were suspended from the department.
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UK boss Chris Bush and Carl Rogberg were also suspended, although Tesco has refused to officially confirm the names of those suspended.
The latest twist will pile pressure on chairman Sir Richard Broadbent, who has faced criticism for overseeing three profit warnings and failing to properly scrutinise the accounts. Broadbent is considering standing down if calls become great enough, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Tesco declined to comment.
Tesco’s auditor PWC pocketed a 5% rise in revenues from UK firms in the year to July, which helped its total earnings hit $34 billion (£21 billion). It hired an extra 45,000 staff, taking its total to 195,000.Reuse content