Tesco share price: Bank unit chief faces questions over £18,000 taxi bill
Benny Higgins, the chief executive of Tesco’s (LON:TSCO) banking arm, could face questions after it emerged that he spent as much as £18,000 on London taxis in about eight months last year. The massive bill comes at a time when the blue-chip retailer is undergoing a restructuring to shore up its balance sheet following an accounting scandal in 2014.
Tesco’s share price has slipped into the red in London this morning, having lost 0.73 percent to 163.10p as of 08:29 BST. The shares are slightly underperforming the benchmark FTSE 100 index which is 0.35 percent worse off at 6,134.80 points. The retailer’s shares have lost over a quarter of their value over the past year, but are up some nine percent in the year-to-date.
The FT reported over the weekend that Tesco Bank’s boss Benny Higgins could have some explaining to do after it emerged that he spent £18,000 on London taxis. The expenses documents, which were leaked to the Guardian, include more than £700 in taxi bills for airport transfers, with Higgins’ daughters named as the passengers.
“The costs are just out of control,” a Tesco source told the Guardian. The FT meanwhile quoted a spokesman for the supermarket group who commented that “all Tesco colleagues adhere to a clear policy that allows travel and other expenses for business reasons”.
The reports of Higgins’ massive taxi bill come at a time when Tesco is undergoing a radical restructuring under its new chief executive Dave Lewis who has been looking to turn around the group’s fortunes following 2014’s accounting scandal by trimming costs and offloading non-core assets. The FT notes that one of Lewis’ cost-cutting measures has been selling the group’s corporate jets and travelling by train instead of car between London and Tesco’s main offices in Hertfordshire, pointing out that the savings would pay for an extra member of staff in store.
As of 09:02 BST, Monday, 23 May, Tesco PLC share price is 162.93p.