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HomeMoney'Misleading' Members of Parliament regarding board

‘Misleading’ Members of Parliament regarding board

  • Asda accused of misleading
  • Transparency concerns in Parliament
  • TDR directors’ resignations undisclosed

MPs who serve on the grocer’s board have been compelled to hear an explanation from Asda in response to a union accusing the private equity firm that supported a £6.8 billion buy-out of misleading Parliament.

The action was taken after the GMB informed Liam Byrne, chairman of the business committee, that two TDR Capital directors had resigned from three of Asda’s boards before their testimony to members of Parliament this week.

The GMB reported on December 19, citing Companies House filings. The filings indicated that managing partner Gary Lindsay and fellow director Manjit Dale had resigned as Asda directors.

Mohsin Issa, the supermarket’s CEO, testified before members of Parliament. His brother Zuber, who headed the contentious buy-out, also defended their management of the company on the same day.

The GMB stated that neither Lindsay nor TDR “disclosed to the committee at any stage” that they were no longer Asda board members, despite his testimony as a board representative.

“We sit on the board and opine on various matters,” Lindsay testified before the House of Commons.

Nadine Houghton, national officer of the GMB, stated, “This lack of transparency may cast significant doubt on the credibility of the testimony presented to the committee.”

She added that it “potentially undermines” a session with members of Parliament that was intended to investigate the “complex ownership and governance structures” of private equity.

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The Issas and TDR own Asda through a complex network of Jersey-based offshore entities that members of Parliament have found difficult to decipher. Lindsay assured them that additional transparency would be implemented in addition to renaming several offshore subsidiaries.

Asda informed Byrne in a letter yesterday that TDR’s key board representation has not changed. The company also affirmed its commitment to Asda.

In addition, Rob Hattrell, a partner at TDR, replaced Dale. On the Asda board, he is joined by Lindsay, retail veteran Stuart Rose, and city grandee Alison Carnwath. Additionally, the Issa brothers and a former Walmart owner’s senior executive are part of the board. However, Asda’s website does not list Lindsay or any other TDR director as a director.

TDR said Lindsay and Dale left Asda “as part of an ordinary corporate structure rationalisation.”

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