Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, who was once the chairman and chief executive at Sainsbury’s supermarket chain, has passed away, according to company announcements.
His 40 year career at the firm saw him take on many different roles. In 1958, he was made a director and then promoted to head the company in 1969.
Lord Sainsbury, the founder of the company and its president for life, retired in 1992.
Simon Roberts is currently the CEO of Sainsbury and described him as one of the “great retailers of his generation”.
He said he was “a shopkeeper at his core”, and was ambitious for the company. “He led Sainsbury’s through a period of unprecedented growth. He was truly an inspirational man.”
Martin Scicluna was chairman at Sainsbury’s. He said that he will be missed by his colleagues and friends.
John Davan Sainsbury, a national-service graduate, began his career in his family’s company in 1950. In the beginning, he was in charge of the grocery section.
Sainsbury’s grew from a small, regionally-based grocery store to be a major national brand during his time there.
According to The Sainsbury’s Archive Lord Sainsbury bought biscuits in 1951, and was bacon buyer by 1956.
The archive stated that a trip to Canada inspired him to develop a method for producing bacon in the self-service market. He piloted the project at Haverhill’s abattoir.
Sainsbury’s products were also developed by him, and he personally approved every packaging design.
It added that Lord Sainsbury steered the company through many other important changes such as conversion to scanning, introduction of debit cards and credit cards and energy management.
His services in the food retailing sector were recognized by Queen Alexandra. He and his brothers Simon, Timothy and Timothy contributed to the transformation of Sainsbury’s.
Sir Roy Griffiths was the ex-managing director and stated in 1991 that Lord Sainsbury, the father of his family’s traditions, had been more committed to them than any other senior family member.
He stated that “No chairman had ever taken such great care of the corporate values. Nothing has been too hard, or too generous for those who service the customer and the company well.”
Lord Sainsbury retired as chairman and chief executive officer in 1992. His mantra was “retail in the details”.
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