Sainsbury's shops at Tesco for retail chief

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Justin King, chief executive of J Sainsbury, yesterday took the axe to another of his senior managers, and poached a key director from Tesco to help him turn around trading at the supermarket chain.

Justin King, chief executive of J Sainsbury, yesterday took the axe to another of his senior managers, and poached a key director from Tesco to help him turn around trading at the supermarket chain.

Adam Fowle - who, in the central role of retail director at Sainsbury has overseen a period of dismal trading at the group - will leave at the end of the year. Replacing him is Ken McMeikan, who had been selected as the next chief executive of Tesco's Japanese operations. Tesco is now looking for another internal candidate to send to Japan only two weeks after Mr McMeikan was appointed. He was not due to take up his new role until the start of next year.

Stephen Wheway, the current head of Tesco's Japanese business, revealed at the end of October that he was leaving to join Boots, and Mr McMeikan, who joined Tesco after its acquisition of the Admin Stores chain, would have replaced him.

Tesco called Mr McMeikan's decision "unfortunate timing", denying any problems in its Japan business. "These sorts of things happen quite often at this level of management," a spokesman for Tesco said. "We have no shortage of people who will want the job." Japan is a key growing area for Tesco, which now has 100 discount and convenience stores in the country.

Mr Fowle sat on Sainsbury's operations board, underneath the Plc board, and joined the company in 2002. Since then, Sainsbury's trading performance has worsened, the company has been losing market share to Tesco and Asda and it has issued a string of profits warnings. Mr King took over in March, since when six directors have announced plans to leave the company, including the finance director and the deputy managing director. Sir Peter Davis, the former chairman, was ousted in July.

Mr King last month said he would cut head office jobs and halve the dividend to revive profits and sales. Pre-tax profits for the first half of the year fell 66 per cent to £135m, and since the figures came out the group has had to fend off rumours that it is about to fall prey to a takeover.

Comments