Tesco's captain hits another six

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The Independent Online
The England cricket team's trophy cabinet may be a little bare at the moment, but the mantelpiece of the sport's new supremo is getting more cluttered by the minute. Lord MacLaurin (right), soon to foresake the chairmanship of supermarket giant Tesco for running the England and Wales Cricket Board, yesterday picked up the Businessman of the Year Award, to add to the accolades the company has received on the way to ousting Sainsbury's from its long-held position as Britain's leading grocer.

MacLaurin could not collect the award - in the interests of equality to be renamed Business Leader of the Year in 1998 - in person because he is in New Zealand offering "moral support" to Mike Atherton's beleaguered cricketers. But in a videotaped message, he said his role had been "to put together a team of people, and I have been fortunate in being captain of a very good team".

His star began to rise at Tesco when, in 1977, he won a battle to abandon Green Shield Stamps. Ironically, he has recently seen Tesco's hugely successful loyalty card dubbed "electronic Green Shield Stamps". In between, MacLaurin is credited with having led the company away from its "pile 'em high and sell 'em cheap" image and into a head-to-head race with Sainsbury's for the middle-class shopper. Even when recession bit, he and his team were quick to respond - with smaller "Metro" stores, the Club Card and financial services. Roger Trapp