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Former Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s chairmen have died

By Rachel Douglass

17 Jan 2022

Business

Image: Sainsbury's

Former Marks & Spencer chairman Paul Myners and a member of the founding family of Sainsbury’s, John Sainsbury, two leaders in UK retail, have passed away.

John Sainsbury, also known as Lord Sainsbury, aided in the establishment of the supermarket giant during his 40-year career. He became director of the company in 1958 and, later, deputy chairman in 1967, a role which he took over from his father. Two years later, he was appointed chairman and chief executive until his retirement in 1992.

During his career, Sainsbury floated the supermarket on the London Stock Exchange and was knighted by the Queen for his services to the food and retailing industry.

The supermarket’s chief executive officer, Simon Roberts, said in a statement: “All of us at Sainsbury’s are deeply saddened by the news that Lord Sainsbury has passed away.”

Roberts added: “He was ambitious for the company and led Sainsbury’s through an unprecedented period of growth; he was a truly inspirational man.”

Additionally, Paul Myners, or Lord Myners of Truro, has also passed away at age 73. The former Marks & Spencer and Landsec chairman was known for his part in stabilising the banking system during the Global Financial Crisis.

In 2008, prime minister Gordon Brown tasked Myner with the role of managing the UK’s response to the crisis, for which he received substantial praise.

Myner also led Marks & Spencer through a tough period, in 2000, when it faced a potential takeover bid from retailer Philip Green, a move that is now seen as a success.