Name: John Coombe
Was: Chief financial officer at GlaxoSmithKline
Now: Chairman at Home Retail Group
Number of years in grocery: 19
Career background: Coombe held senior financial roles at Charterhouse Group and Charter Consolidated before joining Glaxo Wellcome in 1986. He was appointed to the board in June 1992, moving up from the role of chief financial controller to finance director. He was appointed chief financial officer for GlaxoSmithKline in 2000 following the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham - then the world’s biggest-ever corporate merger. He retired from GSK on 31 March 2005.
What is he doing now? Since leaving GSK, Coombe has built up an impressive non-executive portfolio. He is non-executive director of banking giant HSBC Holdings and chairman of corporate services provider Hogg Robinson Group. He was appointed non-executive director of Home Retail Group - the owner of Argos, Homebase and Habitat - in October 2006 and in July 2012 moved up to the role of chairman. He is also a trustee of The Royal Academy of Arts Trust and a former member of the Code Committee of the Panel of Takeovers and Mergers and the UK Accounting Standards Board.
Biggest achievements at GSK: At GSK, Coombe was credited with spearheading a major cost-cutting programme in the wake of the £107bn Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham merger. Before his departure, he was one of the highest-paid finance directors on the FTSE 100, with a salary of more than £1.2m.
What next? More non-executive directorships. Coombe always said he would retire from GSK when he reached his 60th birthday, which he did. So it is very unlikely that a full-time role would ever be on the cards.