Sunday 12 March 2017

Customers Are About To Boycott Tesco Following Chairman's Comment


John Allan claimed that, after millennia of white men enjoying bias in their favour, there has now been a shift towards BAME people and women.

Speaking at the Retail Week Live conference on Thursday, he said: ‘If you are female and from an ethnic background and preferably both then you are in an extremely propitious period.

‘For a thousand years men have got most of these jobs, the pendulum has swung very significantly the other way now and will do for the foreseeable future I think.

‘If you are a white male – tough – you are an endangered species and you are going to have to work twice as hard.’

However, white men still overwhelmingly hold the top positions in business and many other industries – even in Tesco’s own boardroom, eight out of 11 members of the top team are men.

And last year Carolyn Fairbairn, director general of the Confederation of British Industry, revealed that fewer than 10% of their executive directors were women.

But since then activists have been calling for people to boycott Tesco.

Sophie Walker, leader of the Women’s Equality Party, told the Guardian she would no longer be shopping at the supermarket thanks to Tesco’s ‘out of touch’ chairman.

‘Far from being in a “propitious” position, any analysis of senior leadership in business will show the woeful under-representation of women and minority groups,’ she said.

And high-profile women, including Yvette Cooper MP, have been expressing their dismay.

Mr Allan later claimed the comments, which he made the day after International Women’s Day, were supposed to be ‘humorous’ and a ‘rather colourful turn of speech’, which he thought would encourage an audience of aspiring business people.

‘The context was that I was talking to a bunch of aspiring non-executive directors, many of whom were women, and I wanted to give them some encouragement and, therefore, I used that rather colourful turn of speech,’ he told the Guardian.

‘It was intended to be humorous, a bit hyperbolic. Clearly, white men are not literally an endangered species, but I was actually wanting to make the reverse point, which is that it is a great time for women and people of ethnic minorities who want to get on in business.’



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