PR problems for Dalton Philips

Former Brown Thomas man Dalton Philips found himself in a bit of a politically sticky situation in England this week, when his role as chief executive of Morrisons brought him into contact with the understandable emotion surrounding the death of soldier Lee Rigby.

The problem arose when a Morrisons checkout worker was suspended after refusing to remove a wristband associated with the Help for Heroes charity, an organisation that assists British soldiers who have been wounded in conflicts.

The worker, Adam Austin, said he was wearing the band to honour Rigby – the difficulty was that this ran contrary to the supermarket chain’s policy on wearing such items at work. There was also an issue with a poppy pin badge worn by Austin.

Outrage reportedly followed the incident, leading its chief to acknowledge that Morrisons had “got the balance wrong” on the issue. He explained that the original rules were embedded in health and safety but acknowledged that it wasn’t “right” to apply them to staff not preparing fresh food. He said Austin could now “wear his poppy with pride”.


Wicklow-born Philips also noted that it is “really important to me that we show our support for our armed forces”.