Dave Lewis in plea to staff: Tell me how to fix Tesco

Michael Bow
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Tesco boss Dave Lewis took the helm yesterday
New Tesco boss Dave Lewis parachuted into the supermarket giant yesterday by urging his half a million staff to email suggestions to help fix the troubled retailer.

Marking his first day in charge, Lewis – who stepped up to take the reins from departing boss Phil Clarke a month earlier than planned – penned a rallying cry to all 500,000 Tesco employees, warning staff of the “extremely tough” environment that Tesco faces.

“We have some urgent issues to deal with,” he said. “I want to hear what you think we could do differently or better.”

The call to arms, posted on a Tesco social network site, follows a steep decline in Tesco’s share price amid a loss of market share to cheaper rivals.

“Clearly we all want to see an improvement in performance but I won’t take any hasty decisions,” he said in the memo. “I will always communicate openly and transparently with you and I’d like to encourage the same from you in return...for the sake of immediacy please send any comments or ideas to me by email.”

Lewis, a former executive at Unilever and the first outsider to lead Tesco in its history, will now tour City analysts, shareholders and meet fellow executives over the next month ahead of Tesco’s interim results on 1 October.

Ex-Tesco boss Phil Clarke will be on hand to help guide Lewis through Tesco’s byzantine-like structure.

But his appointment failed to arrest Tesco’s ongoing share price decline yesterday, with shares slumping a further 1.9 per cent.

Ratings agency Moody’s maintained its stable rating on the group yesterday but added it would reassess if there was a further deterioration in performance.

“The new CEO’s early start is also a positive sign that the company is eager to reassess its strategy and is expected to take further measures to tackle its ongoing like-for-like sales decline and market share erosion,” Moody’s Sven Reinke said.

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