White men are becoming an endangered species in some of the most senior positions in business as firms try to recruit more women and people from minority ethnic backgrounds, Tesco’s chairman has said. John Allan said the latter groups were in a better position now than they have been in the past when it came to non-executive roles, despite concerns that each remains under-represented in boardrooms. He later said his comments were meant to be humorous in nature. For a thousand years, men have got most of these jobs; the pendulum has swung very significantly the other way now and will do for the foreseeable future, Allan thinks. He added that it is tough if someone is a white male, because he is an endangered species and he is going to have to work twice as hard. Speaking to the Guardian on Friday night, Allan insisted that his comments were meant partly in jest.