J Sainsbury, the UK’s second-largest supermarket chain, is kicking off a search for a successor to David Tyler, its long-serving chairman.
Sky News has learnt that the retailer is working with headhunters on a process to identify candidates to replace Mr Tyler, who took up the role almost eight years ago.
A firm date for his departure has yet to be agreed, sources close to Sainsbury’s said this weekend, but he is thought to be likely to step down next year.
The search for a successor to Mr Tyler, who also chairs the property company Hammerson, is being led by Susan Rice, Sainsbury’s senior independent director.
The supermarket group’s board members include Matt Brittin, the boss of Google’s operations in Europe, although the likeliest internal successor to Mr Tyler is expected to be David Keens, a former Next finance chief who has been a Sainsbury’s director since 2015.
One source said the company would probably opt for an external replacement.
The search makes ?Sainsbury’s the latest in a string of FTSE-100 names to be hunting a new chairman.
BP is beginning a search for Carl-Henric Svanberg’s successor, while Associated British Foods and Burberry are also involved in recruitment processes.
Mr Tyler’s departure will come amid the twin challenges of Amazon’s growing push into grocery retailing and the revival of traditional rivals Tesco and Wm Morrison.
A former finance director of the now-disbanded conglomerate GUS?, Mr Tyler is also the chairman of Domestic & General, a private equity-controlled specialist warranty provider.
He played a role in a working group on executive pay which recommended radical reforms to boardroom reward structures, but which have now been superseded by recent Government proposals.
His stint at Sainsbury’s has been broadly successful, steering the appointment of Mike Coupe as successor to former chief executive Justin King in 2014.
Last year, the grocer bought Argos, the general merchandise chain, in a move which has diversified Sainsbury’s non-food offering.
However, Mr Tyler’s tenure was marred by the emergence this year of a formal reprimand from the Sainsbury’s board? over work undertaken at his home by suppliers to the supermarket chain.
Sainsbury’s declined to comment this weekend.
Source: Sky News