THE race is on at J Sainsbury to choose a successor to replace Sir Philip Hampton as chairman before the retailer’s July annual meeting.<br /><br />The £5.6bn supermarket giant is understood to have shortlisted Burberry chairman John Peace and Thomson Reuters deputy chairman Niall FitzGerald.<br /><br />The search for the £396,000 a year post has been carried out by non-executive director John McAdam, since Hampton voiced his intentions to step down.<br /><br />Part state-owned bank Royal Bank of Scotland named Hampton to succeed Sir Tom McKillop as chairman in January. Shortly afterwards Hampton, who trained as an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand after university at Oxford, said it would be difficult to fulfil the two duties at both the bank and supermarket.<br /><br />Peace, 60, is chairman of luxury British fashion brand Burberry, and Experian, the FTSE 100 business information group. He is also acting chairman of Standard Chartered. Peace is believed to be stepping down from the bank once a successor is found.<br /><br />FitzGerald, 63, is deputy chairman of Thomson Reuters and is believed to be keen to take a chairmanship. The Irish businessman has, on several occasions, been wooed by BP for the top role, but has turned down the offers. FitzGerald spent three decades at Unilever, the consumer goods giant, with the past four years as its chief executive.<br /><br />So far City names that have been ruled out as candidates to replace Hampton include former Asda boss Archie Norman, who is looking for new challenges, while former Reed boss Sir Crispin Davies was thought to be sought after but apparently would like a more hands-on role.