Posted on: 28/09/2014

Amidst all the angst about the over-stated profits at Tesco, at least it can be said that Whistleblowing finally worked.

A middle manager in the Tesco Finance Department  reported concerns to the company General Counsel. He appreciated the gravity of the issues raised and immediately brought the matter to the attention of the new CEO, Dave Lewis. Lewis, in turn, made public announcements as soon as possible.


Not so perfect, of course, that earlier attempts by the same Whistleblower to alert Phil Clarke, the previous CEO, to the problems had failed to get through the Top Management sifting processes.

There's the rub, of course. If enough Top Management are involved, what are the chances that Whistleblowing will succeed? Frankly, slim.

What if Tesco's General Counsel had himself been involved in the scam? Would the matter ever have reached the public domain? Probably not.

That's the problem with Whistleblowing, especially where smaller companies are concerned. Often the whole senior management team plus a compliant board can be effectively in cahoots, all working together to suppress the "story" and victimise the Whistleblower(s).

Particularly dangerous is where a CEO has the " gift of the gab", enabling him or her to persuade the board that black is white. Weak boards are commonplace and that is why the same is true of dishonorable CEO's.

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