UK – British supermarket group, Sainsbury’s has appointed Simon Roberts as the group’s Chief Executive Officer following Mike Coupe’s decision to retire after almost six years as the retailer’s CEO.

Simon, who is the Retail and Operations Director at the group, will start as Chief Executive Officer from 1st June 2020 while Mike will continue in his role as Chief Executive until the end of May 2020.

Mike will also remain a director in the retail giant from 1st June until the AGM on 2nd July 2020, at which point he will retire from the company.

Sainsbury’s said that during this time, Mike will be available to Simon, the Chairman and the Board and will support with the transition and an orderly handover of responsibilities.

Martin Scicluna, Chairman, said: “Mike is an exceptional Chief Executive. His knowledge and understanding of the retail sector and customer behaviour is second to none.

“The Board and I are very grateful to him for his service and we look forward to continuing to work together until the AGM.”

Mike has spent more than fifteen years working for Sainsbury’s. During his tenure as CEO, he is credited with investing heavily in convenience, online and digital capability.

He also led the sale of Sainsbury’s pharmacy business and acquiring Argos and Nectar, which Martin said have all been sound strategic moves.

Mike Coupe said: “I feel very privileged to have spent almost six years running Sainsbury’s, in a period that has been the most challenging and competitive of my 35 year career in retail.

“This has been a very difficult decision for me personally. There is never a good time to move on, but as we and the industry continue to evolve, I believe now is the right time for me to hand over to my successor.

“Martin and I both believe the business is well set up, with a strong management team and a clear plan for the future.

“I am delighted that Simon will be the next Chief Executive and am confident that he is the right choice for our customers, our colleagues and our investors.

Simon Roberts joined Sainsbury’s as Retail and Operations Director in July 2017 and has over 30 years’ experience leading major UK retail brands, having spent 15 years at M&S and 13 years at Boots, where he became President of Boots UK.

In addition to leading Sainsbury’s retail and logistics operations, Simon recently took responsibility for Argos’s retail operations as part of our continued integration.

Simon led Sainsbury’s industry leading store operations restructure and digitisation throughout 2018 – which is the retailer says is now delivering improved customer satisfaction, market leading productivity and further investment in value for customers.

Simon was previously EVP Walgreens Boots Alliance and President of Boots UK. He led the UK and ROI business across 2,500 stores, broadening the appeal of the customer offer while reshaping the business to invest in multi channel capabilities.