FORMER Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy was in charge of the playlist yesterday, getting listeners dancing in the aisles by mixing folk with Handel’s Messiah on Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs.
Sir Terry began his Tesco career as a shelf-stacker in Wandsworth and rose to become chief executive of the grocer from 1997 to 2011.
Now chairman of the retailer B&M Bargains, the Liverpudlian told host Kirsty Young that the loss of his supermarket heavyweight status was a pleasure as he had “never enjoyed the limelight”.
However it seems that despite leaving the firm over a year ago, he is still loyal to the Tesco brand: “I actually bribe my children to inform on my wife Alison if she ever goes to Waitrose,” he confessed.
Sir Terry takes a tough-love stance on the plight of the high street. When asked if the decimation of little high street butchers made him sad, he said it was “part of progress” and that “high streets are medieval and the way we live now is very different. If [the butcher] was good enough, it could survive.”
Ever the humble man, Leahy picked tea as his luxury item to take with him as a castaway. Tesco’s own brand, presumably.
■ One Lombard Street, the stalwart City diner started by former Merrill Lynch and Goldman Sachs banker Soren Jessen, has been running a competition for one thirsty patron to design a new cocktail. The signature tipple will be served in the 1776 restaurant and The Capitalist can reveal that the winner, chosen by judges including Jessen and celebrity chef Tom Parker Bowles, is Chloe Pripachailo with a gin-based pear and lavender drink called the 1776. To win the coveted prize she fended off stiff competition (pardon the pun) from a marmalade-based gin concoction and a spicy Bourbon with a pink peppercorn syrup mixer.