Tesco CEO Phil Clarke should decline his bonus to atone for approving a senior executive's share sale a week prior to its major profit warning, according to a leading investor in the company.
Tesco said last Friday its UK chief operating officer, Noel Robbins, was unaware of the forthcoming profit warning when he sold roughly £202,000 worth of shares earlier this month.
An anonymous shareholder, cited by Reuters as a ‘top 20 investor' in the company, told the news agency Clarke should decline his bonus and called for a full account of events leading up to the share sale.
"He is in a bit of a rocky position at the moment and he is going to have to do something fairly rapidly to convince people that he has control of this company.
"It would be a nice gesture to pass on the bonus," he said.
Paul Mumford, who holds 1.9% of his Cavendish UK Select fund in Tesco, told the Telegraph the company should clarify the situation.
"The whole thing was absolutely bizarre. Absolutely incredible. I can not believe a company such as Tesco could have allowed it to happen. The whole situation has to be tidied up. If nothing else, it is such bad publicity for the company," Mumford said.
COO Robbins sold the shares on 4 January at 404.5p a share, but by 12 January Tesco's share price had fallen to 316.8p after it reported worse-than-expected seasonal sales and a worsening outlook for 2012.
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