Dave Lewis, the former boss of Tesco Plc, will advise U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on how to fix the supply chain crisis that is crippling many parts of British business.
The executive, who spent most of his career working at Unilever Plc before turning around Britain’s biggest supermarket, will help address problems that have led to “acute, short-term issues,” such as petrol and food shortages, the government said in a statement Friday.
Lewis will suggest immediate steps and any necessary long-term changes to the U.K. supply chain. He will co-chair a new Supply Chain Advisory Group, consisting of external experts, and an Industry Taskforce to try to ensure efficient resolutions. He will work closely with No. 10 and the treasury and will be in the role until the end of the year.
British businesses are under increasing strain from post-Brexit labor shortages, particularly of truckers, combined with higher shipping costs, shortages of carbon dioxide and soaring gas prices. Concern is mounting that the combined price shocks will push up food prices and damp consumer sentiment, which bounced back strongly after the easing of lockdowns earlier in the year.
The growing supply chain crisis and increasing calls from companies to allow more truckers from the European Union to return to work in Britain has led to a deterioration in Johnson’s relationship with businesses. Last week, the prime minister attributed labor shortages to years of under-investment in skills by companies that have been able to “mainline low-wage, low-cost immigration.”
“Dave brings a wealth of experience which will help us continue to protect our businesses and supply chains,” Johnson said in the statement.
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