Sainsbury’s bids adieu to its cherished King

Gabriella Griffith
King's out - Coupe's in
Hundreds of Sainsbury’s shareholders gathered in Queen Elizabeth Hall yesterday for the Great Justin King Love-in, otherwise billed as the supermarket’s AGM.

Van Morrison was blaring, there were “Goodbye Justin” t-shirts and the hall was packed with shareholders eager to bid farewell to their King (as it was actually his last day on the job). Lord Sainsbury thanked King, chairman David Tyler thanked King, Mike Coupe thanked King and the shareholders, er, asked him how many ducks the supermarket throws away.

The hall enjoyed a grocery in-joke when a Philip Clark asked a question. Naturally, the Tesco chief exec hadn’t sneaked in to ask for King’s advice, but Mike Coupe made note of how funny it would have been if it had been him – especially if he’d asked the previous shareholder question of whether King could save M&S. “It would have been a delicious irony if the question had come from him,” he laughed. Oh, the high jinx.

A few more questions about paracetamol, Palestine and PwC and King was out. Today (as The Capitalist revealed a few weeks ago) King flies to Rio to watch Germany take on Argentina in the World Cup final.

The only question left to ask is – will Coupe achieve the same level of brand consistency as King did with his tan? (A Sainsbury’s staffer joke, not ours).

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