Mike Coupe

A week’s holiday in Majorca is undoubtedly a rational choice. John Rogers, to whom I recently allocated responsibility for strategy (with the conditionality that any credit arising will accrue to myself) remarked that I might as well, since getting kicks in the Balearics was quite a lot like working at Sainsbury’s.

I’m analysing what he said but I suspect some kind of humour. For myself, however, the decision was somewhat enforced. Let me explain.

Since becoming CEO a year ago I have found myself in the public eye, which I am not entirely comfortable about. Anyway, among my daily irrational correspondence I found a letter addressed in a spidery hand that seemed familiar, offering an all-expenses-paid holiday to a mystery resort. As a trained engineer I am curious of mind and naturally accepted, suspecting the donor to be a grateful Bristol Rovers fan after I returned their old stadium without a supermarket on top.

I was less amused to find, on opening the envelope as instructed at Heathrow, an economy class ticket to Cairo, with the return flight booked for 2017 and accommodation reserved for two years at the Abu Zaabal Hotel. Except ‘Hotel’ was scribbled in biro over the word ‘Prison’.

You may be aware that I am a convicted criminal when off with the Pharaohs, on the basis of no evidence whatsoever. Exactly the same evidential base as we have to suggest my strategy is turning Sainsbury’s around, Rogers said, in what I’m almost certain was another of his quips.

Happily, Thomas Cook was kind enough to rebook my flight, saying Mr King had authorised it as long as it was an 0315 departure from Prestwick via Murmansk. Mr King, eh? Now there’s a coincidence. I wonder what Justin’s up to?