Tumbleweed moment for Tesco as Philip Clarke auction price stumbles

Gabriella Griffith
Philip Clarke-time was up for grabs
Tesco suppliers, celebrity chefs, an Eastenders actor and a British touring car racer all gathered in Old Billingsgate on Friday night for the decidedly unsexy-sounding Tesco Packaged Food Summer Ball. But while chefs Raymond Blanc and Tom Kerridge mingled with Tesco’s suppliers, chief exec Philip Clarke was nowhere to be seen, something which later transpired to be rather lucky.

The event involved a charity auction, which raised money for Cancer Research and Diabetes UK. Prizes such as a trip to watch Barcelona play football proved a big hit but Tesco was saving the best until the end.

Clarke appeared on a screen with a video message letting the crowds know the last auction was indeed himself (or rather a one-on-one session with him). But when bidding started at £10k, it turned out the ball- goers weren’t so eager to cough-up for the chief exec.

The Capitalist’s spies described a “tumbleweed” scenario as the price dropped to £2k before bidding started. Luckily, thanks to some cajoling, the Phil prize eventually went for £12k. Phew. Every little counts – especially when you’re about to lose face at your own ball.

■ THE CITY’S trend of putting unassuming chief execs in place of pre-recession ballsy mouthpieces has done little to infiltrate wannabe investors’ idea of a good leader – if the data from the M&A Game app is to be believed. According to app maker Ansarada, players of the app – which tests deal-making skills – have chosen charisma above anything else as the attribute they want to see in their CEO character. Stats show 17.5 per cent of players choose charisma as the top attribute, ahead of drive (11.3 per cent), strength (12.3 per cent) and creativity (12 per cent). We suppose a good dose of charm never goes amiss when you’re trying to get into bed with one of your competitors.

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