Group Asks Tesco to Review Fresh & Easy

WASHINGTON — CtW Investment Group here, which works with union-sponsored pension funds, has written to Sir Richard Broadbent, Tesco's incoming chairman, calling for a review of the company's U.S.-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain, according to published reports.

WASHINGTON — CtW Investment Group here, which works with union-sponsored pension funds, has written to Sir Richard Broadbent, Tesco [2]'s incoming chairman, calling for a review of the company's U.S.-based Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market chain, according to published reports.

CtW asked Broadbent to lead the board "in an objective and independent review of Tesco's Fresh & Easy opperations and to publicly articulate a strategy to deliver on the company's repeated promise that Fresh & Easy will break even by 2013," the Financial Times of London reported Wednesday.

CtW also questioned the salary of Tim Mason, chief executive officer of Fresh & Easy, noting it is no longer linked to the chain's performance.

Tesco issued a statement that said, "We have not seen this letter, and it is regrettable but entirely typical that CtW — a U.S. union-sponsored body that is not a shareholder, does not speak for shareholders and has tried to undermine the success of Fresh & Easy from the outset — should choose to use the media to promote its hostile and unsubstantiated claims."

CtW said it did own Tesco shares through union-sponsored pension funds and would attend Friday's annual meeting.

The same group wrote to Wal-Mart Stores directors in May expressing concerns over executive compensation and board independence; it also wrote to Rite Aid Corp. in June citing concerns over the lack of board independence.