Justin King, chief executive of Sainsbury's

Justin King will step down in July after 10 years as Sainsbury’s CEO

Justin King is to step down as CEO of Sainsbury’s in July after 10 years at the helm.

Group commercial director Mike Coupe will take over from him at the supermarket chain’s AGM on 9 July.

“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,” King said.

“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.

King was appointed CEO on 29 March 2004. He has also worked for Marks & Spencer, Asda, Haagen Dazs, Mars and PepsiCo.

During his tenure sales have grown from £16.1bn to £25.6bn and underlying profits from £254m to £756m. Sainsbury’s also recently reported its 36th consecutive quarter of like-for-like sales growth – the only big four supermarket to do so.

Mike Coupe Sainsbury's

Group commercial director Mike Coupe will step into the CEO role

Coupe, who has been commercial director since July 2010 and joined Sainsbury’s in October 2004, said: “It’s an absolute honour to be appointed as the new CEO of Sainsbury’s in this, the company’s 145th year, and at a time when, thanks to Justin’s leadership, we have been consistently outperforming the market.

“I very much look forward to building on that success for our customers, colleagues, suppliers and shareholders.”

Sainsbury’s chairman David Tyler added: “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. He leaves a lasting legacy, with the company stronger than ever.”

On Coupe, he said: “We are delighted to appoint a CEO of Mike’s unique talent and experience as Justin’s successor to lead the next chapter of Sainsbury’s history. No one knows Sainsbury’s – or the industry – better than Mike.

“He has worked hand in hand with Justin over the past decade and has a proven track record of success making him the natural choice to take the company forward,” he added.

Sainsbury’s shares have fallen on news of King’s departure – down 6.2p, or 1.74%, to 350.5p.

Earlier today, Justin King sent this memo to staff.

Read this: King stays coy on next move