Tesco general counsel Adrian Morris and 25 other lawyers based at the supermarket’s headquarters will be sent onto the shop floor over the next three months in a campaign launched by chief executive Dave Lewis.
The supermarket giant chief emailed 4,000 staff on Tuesday asking them to work one day a fortnight in stores during the Christmas period in an initiative dubbed Feet on the Floor.
Among those asked were Morris and group company secretary Jonathan Lloyd, who joined the company in 2005, and regulatory, ethics and compliance director David Ward.
Ward was the company’s legal director until the beginning of last year, when he took up the new role. Group property legal director Faye Goss will also be called onto the shop floor in December along with the finance director Alan Stewart to spend alternate Thursdays and Fridays in stores for the next three months.
The idea is an acceleration of Tesco’s annual “helping hands” effort in which head office staff commit to stack shelves or work the tills for two days of the final week before Christmas.
It follows Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s appointment to investigate the company’s overstated first-half profits, which were £250m out when reported, wiping £2bn off its market value in a single day (22 September 2014).
Morris was informed of the issue when a whistleblower alerted him to the problem, and turned to Lewis who instructed Freshfields and accountancy firm Deloitte to scrutinise the company’s accounts.
The Berkshire-based lawyer joined the supermarket from BP in 2012 where he was an associate general counsel (9 November 2012).
Of the new scheme a Tesco spokesperson said: “Understanding customers even better is critical to our future success and there is no better opportunity for office colleagues than by supporting our stores in the run-up to Christmas.”