Sainsbury's CEO Justin King 'wise' to quit says BBC's Peston

Justin King

King will stand down at AGM in July after a decade at the top, but has yet to reveal his next move

LAST UPDATED AT 12:06 ON Wed 29 Jan 2014

JUSTIN KING, the chief executive of supermarket chain Sainsbury's, is to stand down in July after ten years in charge of the company, the BBC reports.

King will be replaced by Mike Coupe, the retailer's current commercial director on 9 July, the day the company holds its annual general meeting.

The BBC's business editor, Robert Peston, tweeted the news of King's impending departure saying: "Possibly the most long-running rumoured departure in corporate history is finally happening: Justin King to quit Sainsbury."

Peston also suggested that King's move was "probably wise" given he was recently voted the UK's most admired chief executive. There is "only one direction from the top", added Peston.

In a statement posted on the supermarket's website, King said: "This was not an easy decision for me to make, and in truth it will never feel like the right time to leave a company like Sainsbury's."

Since joining the supermarket from Marks and Spencer in 2004, King has enjoyed notable success.

His ten years at the helm have seen the supermarket gain an extra ten million customers a week. The company is growing - albeit much more slowly in recent times Peston writes on his blog.

News of King's departure triggered a three per cent drop in the company's shares. It is not known what King's next step will be.

The company's chairman, David Tyler said: "Justin is a truly exceptional leader, who has reshaped Sainsbury's during his 10 years as CEO." · 

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