Sainsbury’s new commercial director is most likely to be an internal promotion, commentators have predicted.

The search is on for a replacement following last week’s news that current group commercial director Mike Coupe will succeed Justin King as the retailer’s new CEO in July.

Sources have told The Grocer they expect Coupe to appoint someone to the role from Sainsbury’s existing senior team.

That team consists of marketing director Sarah Warby, convenience director Simon Twigger, director of online Jon Rudoe and four business unit directors - Roger Burnley, Paul Mills-Hicks, Charlotte Rhodes and James Bailey. They are responsible for non-food, grocery, fresh, and chilled & frozen respectively.

“Mike is so the right person to be leading Sainsbury’s, but what follows on is a frenzy of speculation about who will replace Mike,” said one source.

“There are so many potential permutations in terms of the structure but Mike is not given to dramatic and big change. He’s a very considered individual and won’t rush the process of picking his successor.”

Another source added that having worked at Sainsbury’s for nearly 10 years he would “look from within” because he “knows the business inside out”.

When Coupe’s appointment was announced last week, he said Sainsbury’s had “the strongest team in retail right across our business - in our stores, in our depots, in our store support centre - and I’m really looking forward to working with our colleagues in the future.”

Warby and Burnley are both on Sainsbury’s operating board. Warby joined Sainsbury’s in January 2012 from Heineken. Burnley joined from Matalan in August 2005.

Mills-Hicks was appointed to his current business unit director role in June 2010 having held roles for Sainsbury’s including executive assistant to King and director of trading finance. Rhodes and Bailey were both promoted to their roles following a management reshuffle in February 2012.