Sainsbury’s announces retail director, Simon Roberts, to succeed Mike Coupe as the next CEO in May

on Jan 22, 2020
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
  • Sainsbury's says Simon Roberts will be the next CEO following Mike Coupe's departure in May.
  • Roberts will be faced with a challenge of improving earnings for the supermarket chain.
  • Sainsbury's tried to take over its competitor Asda in 2019 with a £7.3 billion offer.
  • Sainsbury's dropped around 25% in the stock market in 2019.

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Sainsbury’s current CEO Mike Coupe is expected to exit the role in May after serving one of the largest supermarket chains in the United Kingdom for six years. Coupe was the man behind Sainsbury’s plans of taking over its rival Asda; a plan that unfortunately couldn’t pan out. Following his departure, the current retail and operations director, Simon Roberts, will be succeeding Coupe in his role as the company’s CEO, as per Sainsbury’s announcement on Wednesday.

German Discounters Aldi And Lidl Continue To Expand Market Share In The UK

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As per the sources, the new CEO will be faced with a major challenge of improving earnings for the supermarket chain. The German-owned discounters like Aldi and Lidl have been widening their market share in the UK in the past quarters as the big four (Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda) continue to remain under pressure due to the fading consumer demand.

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Under CEO Coupe, Sainsbury’s had tried to take over its competitor Asda in 2019 with an offer of £7.3 billion. Asda is currently owned by Walmart. Following the acquisition, Sainsbury’s was to become the largest retailer of the United Kingdom. In April 2019, however, Sainsbury’s plan ended up collapsing as the supermarket chain failed to gain formal approval for the acquisition from the British competition regulator.

Sainsbury’s stock dropped by around 2.5% on Wednesday morning. In 2019 as a whole, the supermarket chain saw a rather massive decline of 25%. At the time of writing, Sainsbury’s is trading at 208.15 GBX that marks an around 40% decline for the company’s high of 336 GBX in August 2018.

Simon Roberts Is Expected To Extend The September’s Strategy

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Experts, investors, and analysts are now interested in seeing how big of a change would Roberts be able to bring in Sainsbury’s performance in the upcoming months. The new CEO is expected to extend September’s strategy that focused on paying off debt, cutting costs, expanding tech investments, and widening the integration of Argos general merchandise business. Sainsbury’s had invested £1.1 billion to purchase the merchandise business in 2016.

Other credentials to Roberts’ name include having served at Boots (health and beauty retailer) as a managing director. In his announcement highlighting Roberts as the next CEO of Sainsbury, chairman Martin Scicluna appreciated his efforts in the past three years that helped maintain the supermarket’s lead in the UK’s market. The to-be CEO also expressed his excitement for the new role and highlighted his plans of making Sainsbury’s a multi-brand and a multichannel business.


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