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Justin King To Step Down As Sainsbury's CEO

Published on Jan 29 2014 9:42 AM in Retail

Justin King To Step Down As Sainsbury's CEO

Shares in the UK's third largest supermarket chain Sainsbury's dropped by over 2% this morning after the company announced that chief executive Justin King has decided to step down from his role after 10 years.

Mike Coupe, who is currently the group's commercial director, will succeed King when he stands down after the annual shareholders' meeting on 9 July. 

Coupe (53) will become head of a grocer that is battling with Asda to become the second-biggest food retailer in Britain after Tesco.

Shares were 2.5% lower by 9.40 a.m. London time this morning , after falling 5% immediately after the announcement.

In a statement, Sainsbury's chairman David Tyler said "Justin is a truly exceptional leader, who has reshaped Sainsbury’s during his 10 years as CEO, as well as playing a leading role in the sector and wider business world.

"The Board thanks him for his outstanding achievements in ‘Making Sainsbury's Great Again'. He leaves a lasting legacy, with the Company stronger than ever."

King, who has not announced his next move, said the decision to leave had been a difficult one. "In truth it will never feel like the right time to leave a company like Sainsbury's," said King.

"It has been a privilege to have led the company for the past 10 years and I am incredibly proud of our achievements in that time. It is the 157,000 colleagues that make Sainsbury's so special and I would like to thank them for their amazing efforts over the last decade in making Sainsbury's great again.

"I am confident that under Mike's leadership the business will go from strength to strength," he added.

As for his legacy, King has been credited with reviving the fortunes of the supermarket and more recently helping it fight off growing pressure on the sector from discount retailers.

In the 12 weeks to January 6, Sainbury's had 17.1% of supermarket share in the UK., according to Kantar Worldpanel research firm, behind Asda's 17.5% and Tesco's 30.4%.

© 2014 - European Supermarket Magazine by Enda Dowling

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