The chief executive of supermarket giant Sainsbury’s is set to stand down after six years in the role.
Mike Coupe, who led the attempts to merge Leeds-based Asda with Sainsbury’s, will remain in post until the end of May.
Mr Coupe will be replaced by the director of retail and operations Simon Roberts from June 1.
Chairman Martin Scicluna paid tribute to the Sainsbury’s veteran, who has spent more than a decade and a half with the business.
Mr Scicluna said: “He has added enormous value to the business, to our colleagues and to our shareholders over that time.”
During his tenure, Sainsbury’s has sold its pharmacy business and acquired Argos and Nectar.
However, last year it’s attempted merger with Asda was blocked by the competition watchdog on the grounds that it would result in higher prices for consumers.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said the deal would lead to increased prices in stores, online and at many petrol stations across the UK.
Mr 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.
“Sainsbury’s is a very different business today to the one I took over in 2014. I have focused on setting the business up to deal with the strategic challenges of our industry.
“I am proud that almost 20 per cent of our total sales now come from our online channels and that we are becoming one multi brand, multi channel business, able to continue to evolve and adapt with customers’ ever changing needs.”
His departure comes off the back of news that hundreds more management jobs are being cut at Sainsbury’s in the latest overhaul following its takeover of Argos.
Yesterday it confirmed plans to further integrate the head office functions for both Sainsbury’s and Argos across departments including commercial, retail, finance, digital, technology and human resources.
Sainsbury’s declined to reveal the total number of further roles that will be cut, but said it would be in the “hundreds”.