Sally Elliott, Head of Retail at Korn Ferry, the leadership and talent consulting firm, commented:
“Mike’s appointment as CEO is not unexpected. The decision of the Sainsbury’s board to promote from within is in line with market trends in CEO hiring in retail, both in the UK and globally.
“Of the current group of UK retail CEOs, 64 of the top 100 have been appointed internally, compared with 51 of the previous generation of CEOs holding the same roles. At a global level, Korn/Ferry research shows that of the last 197 CEO changes amongst the largest 250 retailers globally, 163 appointments were from within.
“Justin leaves a legacy of consistent growth and strong performance versus competitors in the grocery sector, but as Group Commercial Director Mike has been a key contributor to Sainsbury’s success. With a broad remit making him responsible for all aspects of trading, customer insights, consumer marketing and store development, he was ideally positioned to take the top job.
“The announcement of Mike’s succession ahead of time suggests appropriate forward planning. We are seeing a significant increase in the amount of interest and time that boards are investing in the issue of CEO succession planning. Many of our clients are typically thinking two to three CEO moves ahead, ensuring that candidates are assessed against the strategic priorities of the company over the next three to five years, and continuously developing and assessing their potential CEOs of the future.”