Two Tesco Plc executives have handed in their notice within a week, dealing a fresh blow to Chief Executive Officer Dave Lewis’s turnaround efforts.
U.K. and Ireland human-resources director Judith Nelson has left after 22 years, a company spokeswoman said by e-mail. She’ll be replaced early next year by Natasha Adams, who’s been with the retailer since 1998. Nelson’s departure follows that of group transformation director Jill Easterbrook, who lasted less than a year in that role. Tesco has yet to announce her replacement.
The departures cap an unprecedented period of upheaval at the top of the U.K.’s largest retailer, which was set in motion in September 2014 when Lewis joined from Unilever and the company admitted it had overstated profits by about 250 million pounds ($380 million). Seven senior managers have been dismissed or left in the wake of the accounting scandal, which prompted a $12 million payment to settle a U.S. class-action lawsuit last month.
“Losing two high-profile people in such close proximity is obviously not good news,” Bryan Roberts, an analyst at Kantar Retail, said by phone.
The news will add to investor unease around Tesco, Roberts said, which has sent the company’s share price to its lowest level since 1997 as it enters the critical Christmas trading period. The stock was down 4.7 percent to 143.5 pence at 2:53 p.m. in London, and has fallen 24 percent this year.