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Tesco announced on Friday that its chairman of the board John Allan, is stepping down from the board of directors earlier than anticipated because of sexual harassment allegations.

In the announcement, Tesco said:

"In recent weeks, four allegations have been made in the media in relation to John's personal conduct. Three of these allegations are vigorously denied by John, for the other John unreservedly apologised for the comment he made. 

"One of the allegations related to the Tesco AGM in 2022. In response, Tesco immediately instigated an extensive review of the allegation. This has involved an internal communication to colleagues inviting them to come forward if they had concerns regarding any conduct issues and specifically at the Tesco 2022 AGM. Tesco attendees at the meeting have been further contacted, including colleagues who have since left the Company. Available video footage of the meeting has been reviewed, as have internal complaints records, including from the Company's confidential whistleblowing service.

"The scope of the review has been considered by external legal counsel, who advised that the steps were reasonable and appropriate in the circumstances. 

"This review has not identified any evidence or complaints in relation to John at the Tesco 2022 AGM or at all in his tenure as Tesco Chair."

The BBC notes that the instances for which there reportedly is no proof all had to do with alleged inappropriate touching.  Allan has "admitted to making a comment to a female … worker in late 2019 about a dress suiting her figure.

Mr Allan said he was 'mortified after making the comment' and immediately apologised."

Pending the appointment of a new permanent Chair, Tesco's Board has confirmed the appointment of Byron Grote, the company's Senior Independent Director, as Interim Chair.