Justin King (businessman)

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For other people named Justin King, see Justin King (disambiguation).
Justin King
Born Justin Matthew King
17 May 1961 (1961-05-17) (age 53)
Stepney, London, England[citation needed]
Residence Harbury, Warwickshire, England
Nationality British
Ethnicity White British
Education Tudor Grange Grammar School
Alma mater Solihull Sixth Form College
University of Bath
Occupation Businessman
Years active 1983–present
Title Previous CEO of J Sainsbury plc
Term 2004–2014
Predecessor Sir Peter Davis (2004)
Successor Mike Coupe (2014)
Spouse(s) Claire Simmons (m. 19902011) (divorced)[1]

Justin Matthew King, CBE (born 17 May 1961) is a British businessman, who served as the CEO of J Sainsbury plc, parent company of the supermarket chain Sainsbury's, for 10 years before retiring in July 2014.[2]

King was previously Director of Food at Marks and Spencer and has held senior positions at Asda. King was involved in the introduction of Häagen-Dazs ice cream to the UK and has worked for Pepsi-Cola International and Mars.

Early life[edit]

Raised in Dorridge just outside Birmingham, the son of a petrochemical company salesman, he was schooled at Tudor Grange Grammar School (grammar school which became a comprehensive whilst he attended) in Solihull.[3]

King undertook a degree in Business Administration at the University of Bath, graduating in 1983.[4]

In 2009 he was also awarded an Honorary DBA (Doctor of Business Administration) from the University of Bath.[5]

Career[edit]

Sponsored by Lucas, the automotive electrical manufacturers, he went to work for Mars upon graduation becoming production shift manager on Galaxy chocolate, and where he worked with Richard Baker, who became head of Boots.

King joined PepsiCo from 1989 being based in the Middle East, then moved to Grand Metropolitan in 1990, where he helped launch Häagen-Dazs ice-cream in the UK as managing director. He moved to Asda in 1994 and worked with Archie Norman and Allan Leighton becoming managing director of the hypermarkets division. King moved to Marks & Spencers in 2001, where he managed the M & S food division.

Sainsbury's[edit]

King joined Sainsbury's on 29 March 2004,[6] and was seen as the company's last chance to win back market share from its rivals and remain independent - the previous CEO, Sir Peter Davis, failed to halt the supermarket's slide in market position despite a £3 billion investment in infrastructure. He was offered £675,000 a year. King's annual salary at Sainsbury's is £900,000, coupled with a bonus package between £3-£6million annually.[7]

Shortly after joining Sainsbury's, King authorised the removal of the Colleague Christmas Bonus award. The Guardian reported: "The new chief executive of ailing supermarket chain J Sainsbury ran into his first controversy yesterday as it emerged that he has been awarded free shares worth more than £500,000 in the same week as he has axed the £100 Christmas bonus paid to staff."[8] The removal of the bonus was a contentious issue, given its consistent payment for 25 years and also given that this was the year Sir Peter Davis received disputed bonus payments.[8]

In October 2004 King launched his recovery programme for the company under the banner "Making Sainsbury's Great Again".[9] In January 2008 Sainsbury's announced twelve consecutive quarters of sales growth and achieved its target to grow sales by £2.5 billion,3 months ahead of schedule[10]


In September 2005 in an interview with The Guardian King discussed the dominance of principal rival Tesco. While steering clear of calls for a Competition Commission inquiry into the No.1 UK supermarket, King did call for changes in planning laws to prevent Tesco from achieving a 40% market share. As of 2005 Tesco had more potential development projects than that of Sainsbury, Asda and Morrisons combined. King also criticised Tesco CEO Terry Leahy for questioning the accuracy of Taylor Nelson Sofres market data. Leahy has argued that TNS overestimates the size of his company's market share.

He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2011 Birthday Honours for services to the retail industry.[11]

King announced in January 2014 that he would be leaving his post as CEO in July 2014, with the company's Group Commercial Director Mike Coupe being announced as his successor.[12]

Personal life[edit]

He lives in the village of Harbury, just south of Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. A self-admitted petrol-head, King traded his Maserati Quattroporte for a Lexus LS600h L in March 2008 on environmental grounds.[13]

King is an ambassador for The Scout Association.[14] In 2007, he received an honorary doctorate from Bournemouth University.[15]

In April 2011, King gave half his shares in Sainsbury's to his wife Claire for "financial planning purposes".[16] She divorced him three months later, after 21 years of marriage.[1]

Their son Jordan King is a racing driver, currently competing in Formula Three.[17]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Cohen, Tamara (2011-07-23). "The Sainsbury's boss revealed marriage split on the Stock Exchange". Daily Mail (London). 
  2. ^ James Davey (29 January 2014). "Sainsbury's CEO Justin King to step down in July". Reuters. 
  3. ^ Finch, Julia (2009-03-27). "Sainsbury's chief of staff Justin King wears his service medal with pride". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2012-05-22. 
  4. ^ University of Bath - School of Management - Page Title
  5. ^ http://www.bath.ac.uk/alumni/news-publications/news/news-archive/news_0007.html
  6. ^ "Sainsbury poaches M&S food boss". BBC News. 2003-11-19. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  7. ^ White, Garry (10 June 2009). "Justin King receives £5m package". The Daily Telegraph (London: Telegraph Media Group). Retrieved 16 August 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Finch, Julia (2004-05-22). "Business: Sainsburys chief gets £1/2 m as he cuts staffs Christmas bonus". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 2007-09-10. 
  9. ^ "Sainsbury's heads back to basics". BBC News (BBC). 2004-10-19. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  10. ^ Couch, Angharad (2007-03-28). "Sainsbury Sales Gain on Healthy Foods, Store Overhaul (Update 4)". Bloomberg.com (Bloomberg). Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  11. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 59808. p. 8. 11 June 2011.
  12. ^ "Sainsbury Appoints Mike Coupe As CEO, Replacing Justin King - Quick Facts". nasdaq.com. 29 January 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2014. 
  13. ^ Madslien, Jorn (2008-03-16). "Lexus hybrid woos Sainsbury's chief". BBC News. Retrieved 2010-05-07. 
  14. ^ "Scouting Ambassadors". www.Scouts.org.uk. 2010. 
  15. ^ http://www.bournemouth.ac.uk/newsandevents/News/2007/november07/honorary_doctorate_for_sainsbury's_ceo.html
  16. ^ Goodley, Simon (2011-04-04). "Sainsbury's boss gives half his £4m stake in supermarket group to his wife". The Guardian (London). 
  17. ^ 18 February 2012, Anna (5 February 2012). "Dashwood: Teen spirit drives Formula One ambition for the three Kings". Telegraph.co.uk (London: Telegraph Media Group). "Jordan King, son of J Sainsbury chief executive Justin" 

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