Sainsbury's bats away criticism of new chairman Martin Scicluna

Josh Mines
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An investor raised concerns about its new chair's involvement in Lloyds Banking Group's failed merger with HBOS in 2008 (Source: Getty)

Sainsbury’s yesterday defended its new chairman after he received criticsm from an investor concerned with his involvement in a botched merger when he worked for Lloyds bank.

The supermarket yesterday said insurer RSA’s chairman Martin Scicluna would become non-executive chair in March 2019.

Scicluna worked for Lloyds Banking Group when it bought struggling HBOS in 2008.

The deal ended up hitting Lloyds’ market value, before the bank received a government bail-out in 2009.

The new chair will steer Sainsbury's through its £15bn merger with Asda which will create the biggest supermarket in the UK.

Read more: Sainsbury's first quarter shows sluggish growth heading into Asda tie-up

“My concern at the moment is a lack of diligence in 2008 by a number of individuals. I don’t want to have a similar thing occurring in 2019 when we merge with Asda,” said Ralph Eschwege.

But Susan Rice, Sainsbury’s senior independent director defended the new chairman.

“That was a very complicated period and the coming together of Lloyds and HBOS couldn’t be more different than the transaction that we’re looking at just now.”

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