The Dangers of Non-Existent Leadership – #PretAManger

 

»CEOs have their employees suffer for them. But yet, the CEO’s pay goes up and up and up… and so many people are left behind. I’m here to tell you: No more! It’s not right! It’s never been right!«

Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder and CEO of Chobani

 

I’ve posted Hamdi Ulukaya’s TED Talk from which I took above quote on the “Anti-CEO Playbook“, which is worth watching for anyone who is tired of today’s profit-over-people driven global business ventures. It CAN and MUST be done differently! I’ve also written many posts on Clive Schlee’s “leadership” in Pret A Manger, like for example the Timing of the £1000 Announcement to all staff on Twitter on 29. May 2018, which came after he and Pret became aware of my blog in the night from 28th to 29th May 2018. But I want to pull some things together into one post again as I feel people still don’t get it!

I used to be your typical good citizen (and I still am!), working hard, keeping my head down, loyal come rain come shine, doing things by the book with all my shortcomings and down falls as well. I was your average employee. No, I was more. I always gave 150%. But I equally was lulled in and brainwashed by this Pret PR machine and a smiley, approachable CEO. Until they crossed so many boundaries that I, in an utter traumatized state endured. It took me distance to understand what happened to me. For any new reader, my full story is in the audio player interview at the bottom of this page.

Apart from what I have survived in Pret and collected in other staff reviews, it is beyond me how easily society today remains lulled in, blinded in the acceptance of how business is done today. People are comfortable with a business EVEN after 2 customers died from their products, and a third nearly fatal reaction.

I should be stopping right here in this post, as the ultimate terrible thing that can happen to any business is customers dying from that business’ product or service! And in Pret TWO customers died. Yet, after the initial outrage, everyone goes back to business, and the chaos behind the scenes continues without any consequences for that company!

 

While I worked at Pret, and even before my brother died when all the nightmare began, I always wondered why in shop after shop the management is so poor with just very few exceptions. There is a bullying environment I looked over as everyone was treated bad, except those who kissed up to leadership for quick promotion. But I tried to ignore the environment and kept going. Yet, I always knew in my heart that the “fish stinks from its head” and if a company has poor management skills across the board, it comes from the top down.

Clive Schlee’s management style is very simple: It’s a “good cop, bad cop” approach. He’s the good cop who pretends to not realize what’s going on when staff complain about the bad cop managers in their shops. But all cops have one thing in mind: profit, profit, profit and squeeze the maximum “productivity” out of employees until there’s nothing left to squeeze. And when they’re dried up and burnt out, they are discarded like broken machines! Clive Schlee is one of those leaders who doesn’t like to hire and fire, he leaves that to the firing squat called the HR department, who in turn let the Operations Team do the firing.

man-320273__340

Responsibility is handed down through the ranks to the bottom. A typical cowardliness leadership style. It’s like the captain of a ship that jumps ship first when it sinks, instead of doing the courageous and principled thing that a true Captain is supposed to do. I distinguish these two “captains” by a capital letter. A true Captain gets passengers and crew off the ship first, starting with the most vulnerable, and then as the Captain, he leaves the ship at the very end when EVERYONE is off the boat!

But in Pret A Manger the typical “leadership” style is, that the captain, the top leadership saves their skin first and blames downward, or in the words of Hamdi Ulukaya again:

»CEOs have their employees suffer for them … and so many people are left behind.«

The most recent example of this is Pano Christou. With all the press regarding the allergen deaths and my blog being a sore in Clive Schlee’s sight, the announcement of his “retirement” (he’s 60!) was made AFTER I tweeted to the press on 01. July (I explain in detail here) and the press then contacting HQ for confirmation. Pano Christou becomes the new CEO in September. But since Clive Schlee leaves a legacy of poor staff reviews on Glassdoor & Co. what does he do? He does what he does best: he passes the buck downward and let’s Pano Christou already appear in mid July on Glassdoor.

A customer pointed out the poor Glassdoor scoring on 01. July 2019 when the retirement announcement was tweeted. So, Schlee must have arranged for Christou to take over on Glassdoor before the official September handover:

2019-07-01 Tweeter re Glassdoor

Link to Tweet

 

Las Vegas

Link

 

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

 

Both percentages of Schlee and now Christou are from the mid July 2019 handover on Glassdoor. The £1000 “bribe” and marketing didn’t help cover over the reality of work in Pret.

 

2019-07-22 43 staff - 0 Pano

 

Again, instead of owning up he quickly passes the buck to the next in line. Pano Christou having come from McDonald’s management (one of the biggest exploitative companies) and started in Pret in management, he learned under Schlee.

And this is clever as well because Christou starting from zero, once he gets let’s say the first 10 votes and 7 out of the 10 are positive, he will be at 70% approval rate in no time, making it look like he’s the great CEO. New viewers, especially those from other countries who are completely new to Pret assume Pret has great senior management in place. But he will continue under the “CEO Playbook” that Hamdi Ulukaya adequately criticizes and works on to reform, having a McDonald’s background and having been longer in Pret than Clive Schlee. He will make no difference, but will continue under the same facade. And this is very typical Pret, tweaking, tricking, covering up instead of really caring. It’s just regular millionaires who only care to advance their wealth.

A quick reminder of what Pret staff experience and mainly voice in anonymity:

 

17 Odd

Review by former Purchasing Director, NY

 

01 Go back to UK

Review by a Corporate, NY

 

2017-05-26 AM NYC Pure Misery

Assistant Manager NY 2017

 

HQ IT Analyst

London HQ Review

 

2014-12-26 NY

2014 New York

 

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+ More recent reviews:

 

The above slideshows are just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 

A poignant truth someone wrote on a Twitter feed. Worth reading the whole feed:

»It’s amazing to me how many business leaders separate their employees from their customers/patrons.
Your employees are your core target audience to put word-of-mouth out about your organization.«

 – by @minmilyjung

Out of my own experience and my former colleagues’ complaints to me as their Team Leader, I was at least lucky enough to be in a position to stand up for them as their Leader, but my and their experiences topped with the way Pret dealt with the customer deaths, shows so frighteningly how reckless and dangerous this kind of “leadership” style is.

“Leadership”, that I can only put in quotation marks, that refuses to take responsibility, blames downwards, passes the buck to the next in line, and then has the audacity to remain as a non-executive Director in the background! I can only boil it down to narcissistic arrogance which shows when Clive Schlee, only thinking about himself, ignores a serious customer complaint on behalf of staff on Twitter!

Customer complaint on 29. June 2019 about hellish work conditions in a shop:

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet to which Schlee responded on 01. July AFTER retirement news broke. (A long list of customer complaints regarding overheated shops with broken air conditioning and the hellish work conditions staff are left in).

On 30. June 2019, Schlee’s response to a farewell regarding his retirement, but no official retirement announcement until I tweeted to the press on 01. July (after I tweeted this to the press I got shadow banned and then the press started “breaking” the news on Twitter). Clive Schlee’s response to Neil here came AFTER the above customer, Kirk tweeted TWICE to Schlee about broken air conditioning:

2019-06-30 Clive response to well wisher

Link Clive Schlee being all about himself again, while ignoring TWO Tweets a day before by a customer on excruciating work conditions! I’m sure he didn’t realize that he spilled the beans again unintentionally regarding his non-caring about the welfare of his hardworking employees!

 

In the U.S. it would hail a storm of lawsuits on Pret with one customer death being enough to sue the living daylights out of them! One customer already unsuccessfully sued Pret in New York in 2016 after having suffered an anaphylactic shock ALSO from an unlabelled Sesame product. He was devastated when he learned of Natasha Ednan-Laperouse’s anaphylactic shock, leading to her death from an unlabelled Sesame product ALSO in 2016! He fought in court, but lost.

This lawsuit wasn’t a hint enough for Pret to do the right thing labelling their products! And then even AFTER TWO customer deaths Pret STILL didn’t do the right thing UNTIL the deaths became public! Only THEN did SLOW change happen. I cover this and their inconsistency in “Pret’s Labelling Commitment?” with their appalling and infamous slogans.

“It’s what makes Pret, Pret”!!

 

PretDoingRightThingHaHa

 

HR department logo:

Right Thing Naturally

 

So, this is the UK, no lawsuits.

“Polite”.

Politically correct.

Sweet-talking.

Complacent, inefficient, indifferent and arbitrarily dangerous for people’s health and lives.

FoodAllergyNews

From AllergicLiving.com

And Pret is very quick to change the shop signage of their 350+ stores in the UK for Pride month, while not acting on allergen labelling on their products until customer deaths became public.

Pret Signage

@celestine__ on Twitter

Customer deaths don’t make people wake up, certainly staff complaints, staff deaths and suicides don’t wake people up. No lawsuits. No investigations. A society full of indifferent people that only cares for a free cookie. We all know that the opposite of care and love is not hate, but indifference.

I despair at this.

And perhaps it mainly takes CEOs who are also the founders of their companies to care enough to make a difference. Most CEOs these days are just “managers” who were given the rod to the flock, and thus they don’t have concerns for what they were entrusted with. They then open the door to the wolves of private equity. And the suffering gets out of control with the “managers” sneaking out the back door, when the “slaughter” gets too bloody and the managers are in danger of getting cut.

 

Times report

The Times article

 

But I want to end on a positive note, another hopeful, courageous and principled CEO, whose words are blunt but much needed, and like Hamdi Ulukaya, a Captain with a capital “C”:

»To sell my business, this thing that I created, that I poured my life, 30 years of work in; to sell it to one of those bastards (venture capitalists), it would feel like selling one of my children into prostitution. And I was never gonna do it.«

Guy Singh-Watson
Founder and CEO of employee-owned Riverford

 

A list of blog entries I wrote regarding Clive Schlee: “Late Night Girl Articles

 

Riverford and Chobani scores June/July 2019 on Glassdoor

Riverford Chobani

 

UPDATE: October 2019

2019-10-02 Pano 38 26

 

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Clive Schlee’s “Late Night Girl” Articles

 

Clive Schlee’s “Late Night Girl” Writings.

For any new reader, my full story in an interview at the bottom of this page on the audio player.

For a comprehensive list of writings about Pret A Manger, please visit:
>>> The Most Comprehensive Website on Pret A Manger

 

I said 6 months ago to a Union person that Clive Schlee will probably sneak out of Pret. And days ago I wrote to another person that he is very quiet lately and either on a Sabbatical or leaving.

I tweeted to the press this morning, and of course now they have “breaking” news 😉 He since has now tweeted his announcement himself AFTER I contacted the press and they “broke” (uhm!) the news.

~10am Tweet before the press started waking up:

2019-07-01 My Schlee retirement Tweet

Link

 


 

To Clive Schlee,

unfortunately your early retirement you chose not to announce and I had to tweet again for the press to pick this up. Sure, Pano Christou will take over, having come from McDonald’s management (nobody’s perfect!) he will continue where you left off. Pano became UK Managing Director after Andrew Walker “left”. Andrew Walker then became EAT’s CEO which is now swallowed by JAB via Pret. What a cold cold business! It may be good for the press to properly investigate on the Andrew Walker issue!

Pano will do some changes of course, but from his emails years ago, he wasn’t straight forward with me either, and I’m afraid Pret will continue business as usual with a lot of the chaos behind the scenes.

I’m sure you’ve done a lot of good things and many will sing your praises. But for me and many others this PR[et] facade and the reality behind the scenes has been a terrible “ride” and the worst, traumatic experience I have ever had in any workplace! Only my brother’s untimely death supersedes this trauma in an even greater nightmare!

I always shuddered when as a shop Team Leader, working in the office doing the ordering or whatever I had to do, when an email from HQ came in. And that email was sent out naming, blaming and shaming shops that had poor scoring in Health & Safety or other issues. This fear management, also to your low-paid workers via Mystery Shoppers, was always a terrible experience to read and witness.

And you think you can just sneak out of Pret, not taking any responsibility?

I worked in the catering industry all my life, in 3 countries. I never shied away from hard work and was self-sufficient since my teenage years. I lived and worked with integrity, principle and care. And what I received in return was humiliation, trauma, and discrimination. You need to understand that Pret A Manger under your leadership has almost destroyed my life, literally almost killed me!

I survived Pret, which I experienced as toxic, corrupt and exploitative.

You can count yourself very lucky, Mr. Schlee, that my mental health is too low to see through to court without a lawyer and my father having died in the middle of preparation for the Tribunal claim I had to withdraw!

And this is YOUR legacy, sir. And I can never write any other story-line, as much as I miss my old life of writing with encouragement and positivity, having given the benefit of the doubt to you one too many times. Those days are gone when it comes to Pret A Manger!

I’m sure by now with all my writings that you have read (you still haven’t blocked me on Twitter as you collect for a potential court case or to ruin my future further! Pano Christou blocked me and today he closed his @christoupano account!), but I’m sure by now you have learned of amazing CEOs like Guy Singh-Watson from Riverford, or Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and CEO of Chobani who revolutionize the business world. I hope you learn from them, not just for the typical Pret facade and fake smile you are so known for. But a full turn around to make a true difference in the LIVES of HUMAN BEINGS that labour and give their sweat, blood and tears so that you can count your millions!

I am proud to have declined four settlement offers in turn for silence! I have many regrets, but not this one!

Wishing you good luck?

I wish that you would for once take responsibility, sir!

I wish that you would be taken to court for what people have suffered under you!

Regards,

Your “Late Night Girl”


Clive Schlee’s Legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

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The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 

LINK: TWO Pret Staff have died
1 is said to be a suicide.
It’s not the first suicide in Pret.

 


 

NEW

 

21. Sep. 2019
Pret A Manger has a New Fool

23. Sep. 2019
Smile, Fool!

01. Sep. 2019
Foot-in-Mouth Disease at Pret

08. July 2019
Any Damn Fool can run Pret

 


 

While the Press was fast asleep:

01. July 2019 approx. 3am post
Clive Schlee’s Legacy

 

30. June 2019
The Captain of the Ship

 

20. June 2019
Where is Clive Schlee?

 

18. June 2019
Clive Schlee’s Soldiers – My suspicion that he would be leaving!

 

03. April 2019
The Timing of Clive Schlee’s £1000 Announcement

 

16. Nov. 2018
Clive Schlee’s Crocodile Tears – His negligence on customer warnings regarding allergen labelling

 

08. Dec. 2018
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: to Clive Schlee

 

17. Feb, 2019
Pret’s Unprofessional Twitter Staff incl. Clive Schlee

 

02. Apr. 2019
Clive Schlee, Pano Christou

 

08. Aug. 2018
An IMAGINARY but Honest Interview with Pret A Manger

 

UPDATE:
01. July 2019
Clive Schlee’s “Retirement” vs. Resignation

and so on…


 

»It’s amazing to me how many business leaders separate their employees from their customers/patrons.
Your employees are your core target audience to put word-of-mouth out about your organization.«
 – by @minmilyjung

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Clive Schlee’s Legacy

 

I knew something like this would happen. Going into “retirement”, huh! And he doesn’t even make a proper announcement, but through the backdoor it’s communicated.

Leaving a “legacy” behind after having opened the door to the wolves of private equity!

Customer deaths. Staff deaths including suicides. I survived.

And he’s sneaking out!

Or was it a dismissal?!

Mr. Schlee should still face court after the customer deaths and the repeated warnings on allergen labelling he ignored. Not to mention how staff are treated for profit under his leadership! He still owns half of itsu and who knows what other business he is part of. He’s got his millions and his employees suffered for it. So, he does what he does best, disappear from taking responsibility.

Of course not surprising.

And maybe he took some advise from those closest to him.

Clive Wife

Well, there you go.

From a 2016 Guardian interview

First Nicki Fisher skips out after all the PR stunt of the homeless house, now he does. Who’s next? Pano Christou? (UPDATE: Twitter profile deleted, screenshot*). Unless he’s the candidate for CEO. Andrea Wareham? …

* Pano Christou Twitter screenshot

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter

 

2019-07-01 Retirement Clive

Link

And another of those serious complaints he does not care about, nor even responds to. I have worked in 40 degrees (Celsius) shops for prolonged times before Pret fixed the issue. We also literally begged customers to speak to Pret on our behalf as Pret did not listen to staff feedback!

What an example of the worst leadership in a company that I have ever experienced!

2019-06-30 AC

First and Second Tweet
“It’s shocking they are not supported by decision makers.”
Don’t be shocked, that’s typical Clive Schlee and Pret A Manger!

 

My biggest regret ever having worked in that company!

 

»It’s amazing to me how many business leaders separate their employees from their customers/patrons.
Your employees are your core target audience to put word-of-mouth out about your organization.« – by @minmilyjung

 

Clive Schlee’s legacy:

2019-06-30 44 staff 50 Clive

Glassdoor July 2019

 

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Slideshow can be paused

 

The above slideshow is just a selection, the list goes on in Pret Staff Complaints

 

Link: >>> Two Pret Staff have DIED recently
One is said to be a suicide. It’s not the first suicide in Pret.
I survived. If I would have gone over the edge, to my current knowledge, mine would be #3 and it would be in connection to Pret!

 


 

UPDATE:

I wrote this blog entry early this morning before 3am UK time, being Clive Schlee’s “late night girl” that I am! I tweeted this to the press an hour ago approx. 10am and now other Journos or people in general who must have contacted Pret HQ state that news from HQ announces Clive Schlee’s retirement.

So, while the Press was sleeping again and me doing the usual Pret Tweet observations, his retirement was announced days ago very quietly.

Peace before the storm, hey.

2019-07-01 quiet retirement

Link

And promptly I get partially shadow banned for the next 48 hours after having tweeted to the Press. My Tweets are still visible within a feed if one clicks “Show more replies” but cannot be found in search.

2019-07-01 ExPretAManger NO Thread ban

Shadowban.eu/ExPretAManger
The ban will be lifted and all in the green on 03. July approx. 10:30am UK time.

~10am Tweet before the press started waking up:

2019-07-01 My Schlee retirement Tweet

Link

 

A brief list of writings regarding Clive Schlee: Clive Schlee’s “Late Night Girl” Articles.

Today Pano Christou deleted his Twitter account, but a screenshot on how it looked like until this afternoon:

2019-07-01 COO Pano Christou Twitter

Now leads to a deleted page.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the now “retired” former CEO Clive Schlee. I declined 4 settlement offers if I am silent about my ordeal. But I rather starve and speak out to help others. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I tell my story for the first time verbally in below audio player interview on a podcast by The Adam Paradox, and wrote an article in the
Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.