Described as a "thoughtful", "measured", "balanced" and "balanced" man by those close to him, John Allan revealed a dark part of his personality. This logistics expert is indeed targeted for inappropriate behavior and "sexual assault" on several of his colleagues. The chairman of the board of directors of the British supermarket giant Tesco will leave his post at the group's general meeting on June 16.
Last week, The Guardian revealed that John Allan, 74, allegedly touched the buttocks of a Tesco executive in June 2022, during a general meeting. And the facts don't stop there. When he was chairman of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), in 2018 and 2019, he also allegedly touched the buttocks of a staff member at the 2019 annual dinner. John Allan also allegedly made inappropriate remarks towards two women, which were considered sexual harassment.
'Simply false' claims
For his part, the septuagenarian admitted, half-heartedly, to have had an inappropriate comment in 2019. He reportedly told Carolyn Fairbair, then director general of the IWC, that her dress "suited her figure". And this, only "to cheer him up," according to him. According to a spokesman for John Allan, he "immediately apologized" and says the other three accusations are "simply false".
Faced with this situation, the real estate developer Barratt has also decided to take measures. The largest home builder in the UK, hired him in 2014 and appointed him chairman. He will be removed from office, "as of June 30". The company wants to avoid "the impact of the allegations against John Allan disrupting society." "My early departure from Barrat is the result of anonymous and unsubstantiated [claims] made against me, which I vehemently deny," the businessman defended himself in a statement published Tuesday in the British press.
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"He knows how to talk to senior officials"
John Allen's professional career had not known any pitfalls. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh with a degree in mathematics in 1970, he quickly rose through the ranks. He became Managing Director of Exel, a supply and logistics chain, in 2000, and CFO of parcel delivery company Deutsche Post DHL Group in 2007. A year earlier, he was even awarded the Order of the British Empire for his services in the transport of goods.
In 2009, John Allan became vice-chairman of retailer Dixons Carphone and told the Mail on Sunday that "it is not the responsibility of the chairman and the members of the board to run the company, but to ensure that it is well managed, within the framework of good governance". According to a statement from one of his colleagues to the Financial Times, "he knows how to talk to senior officials and they listen to him."
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A salary of £650,000 a year
In February 2011, he moved closer to the British crown when Home Secretary Theresa May invited him to join her ministry. John Allan then became a non-executive member of its supervisory board, in order to provide his commercial expertise. A few years later, in 2014, he handled the merger between Dixons and Carphone Warehouse, worth more than 3.8 billion pounds, or 4.6 billion euros. Since joining Dixons, the share price has quadrupled, reinforcing its strong results.
In 2015, he arrived at the head of Tesco, one of the most important British retail groups. According to information from the Guardian, John Allen was paid £650,000 a year for his role on the company's board. And so he was also appointed president of the IWC in 2018 and 2019, then vice-president until October 2021, when he resigned, for no apparent reason.
Beyond his professional career, John Allan does not dwell on his private life. He has conducted very few media interviews and is content to speak on rare occasions. In a 2011 Financial Times article, however, the executive said he frequently traveled to Scandinavia to oversee Dixons' activities. During his travels, he developed a taste for black Scandinavian novels and series, which reveal the dark foundations of contemporary society, such as murder, racism, rape or misogyny.