Ex-Sainsbury’s boss dies aged 94

The former chairman of Big 4 grocer Sainsbury’s, Lord John Sainsbury of Preston Candover, has died at the age of 94.

Lord Sainsbury was the president of the grocer and also sat in the House of Lords as a member of the Conservative party.

He initially began working in his family’s business in 1950,  taking on a role in the grocery department before becoming a director in 1958. In 1967, he became deputy chairman, a role which he took over from his father and was appointed chairman and chief executive in 1969, which he held until his retirement in 1992.

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Sainsbury’s current chief executive officer, Simon Roberts said everyone at the grocer is “saddened” by the news that Lord Sainsbury has passed away.

“On behalf of Sainsbury’s colleagues past and present, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Lady Sainsbury and the rest of Lord John’s family. Lord Sainsbury was a shopkeeper to his core and one of the great retailers of his time.

“He was ambitious for the company and led Sainsbury’s through an unprecedented period of growth; he was a truly inspirational man. While he will be missed by many, his huge contribution to Sainsbury’s and the values he cared about and believed in so much will remain alive at the heart of our business.”

During his stewardship, Sainsbury’s modernised its stores, developed its food ranges and floated Sainsbury’s on the London Stock Exchange in what was, at the time, the UK’s largest-ever initial public offering.

He was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in 1980 for services to the food retailing industry, made a life peer in 1989 and in 1992 was appointed as one of only 24 Knights of the Garter.

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