Lord John Sainsbury dies aged 94

Lord John Sainsbury, president and former boss of the Sainsbury’s supermarket chain, dies aged 94



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Lord John Sainsbury, the president and former boss of the supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, has died aged 94.

The great-grandson of the company founder, John James Sainsbury, joined the company in 1950 in the grocery department and rose through the ranks to become vice chairman in 1967, a role he took over from his father Alan Sainsbury.

He eventually became chairman and chief executive in 1969, taking over from his uncle Sir Robert Sainsbury. He held the role for 28 years.

Thinking Ahead: Lord John Sainsbury was the great-grandson of company founder John James Sainsbury

Thinking Ahead: Lord John Sainsbury was the great-grandson of company founder John James Sainsbury

Under his leadership, Sainsbury’s floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1973 in what was at the time the largest stock exchange listing ever.

The debut was dubbed the ‘sales of the century’ by the press, although the family initially retained a majority stake in the group.

He also led the company through a period of modernization as the UK supermarket landscape shifted from counter to modern supermarkets, while also expanding the number of Sainsbury’s stores in the UK.

He was credited with buying prime locations in the south east of England, making the Sainsburys estate one of the most valuable among supermarket groups.

Despite his retirement in 1992, Sainsbury was named president of the retailer and continued to attend store tours and company meetings until his death.

“During his 40-year career with the company, Lord Sainsbury led the company through a period of great change and had a major impact on UK retailing in the 20th century,” said Sainsbury’s chairman Martin Scicluna.

“He will be greatly missed by the Board of Directors and all his friends and colleagues at Sainsbury’s.”

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