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Tesco Bank hires ex-Treasury bank bailout executive to join board

Lianna Brinded
Head of Yahoo Finance UK
Tesco Bank cashpoint. Photo: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images

Tesco (TSCO.L) revealed that it has hired a former UK Treasury executive to join the board at Tesco Bank on 1 November.

Sir John Kingman is a big name in finance — he was closely involved the UK government's response to the banking crisis and helped it move to bail out the banks during the financial crisis.

Graham Pimlott, chairman of Tesco Bank, said in a statement: "I am delighted to welcome Sir John to the board. His experience speaks for itself and will be invaluable as we drive the change required to ensure the Bank can best serve a broad range of Tesco customers."

READ MORE: Surprise exit for Tesco CEO who 'saved' supermarket

At the Treasury, Kingman was also responsible for policy relating to business, financial services and infrastructure and was the first chief executive of UK Financial Investments — the government body in charge of managing the taxpayer's banking interests.

This appointment will mark his fifth active board seat. He currently holds external roles at:

• Chair, Legal & General

• Deputy chair, National Gallery

• Trustee, Royal Opera House Covent Garden Foundation

• Chair, UK Research and Innovation

Shares in Tesco are relatively flat on Monday morning.

Chart: Yahoo Finance

Tesco is currently undergoing massive changes after CEO Dave Lewis announced that he will step down next year. Lewis cited personal reasons for his departure and said he was not leaving to take up another position.

Lewis said: “I believe that the tenure of the CEO should be a finite one and that now is the right time to pass the baton.

“Our turnaround is complete, we have delivered all the metrics we set for ourselves. The leadership team is very strong, our strategy is clear and it is delivering. The Tesco brand is stronger and customer satisfaction is the highest it has been for many years.”

READ MORE: 'Unknown' new Tesco CEO must battle Brexit, German discounters, and changing tastes

It was a surprise because Lewis, who was nicknamed “Drastic Dave” at Unilever for his cuts, successfully steered the business out of trouble and Tesco made a profit of £1.6bn ($1.96bn) last year.

Lewis joined Tesco from Unilever in 2014 at the height of an accounting scandal that left the retailer with a more than £200m blackhole on its books, and pushed it to a loss of over £6bn in 2015.

Days later, Tesco announced that Ken Murphy will take over as CEO. While he has an impressive CV but no profile in the UK.

“I think it’s fair to say that Mr Murphy is a completely unknown quantity over here,” Russ Mould, investment director at stockbroker AJ Bell, told Yahoo Finance UK.

Bruno Monteyne, head of European retail at Alliance Bernstein, said: “Most people don’t know him.” Monteyne himself spent a decade at Tesco, leaving in 2012.