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Home Retail chief executive to step down after Sainsbury's takeover

THE boss of Argos owner Home Retail will step down once supermarket Sainsbury's completes its £1.4 billion takeover as part of a wide-ranging reshuffle at the two firms.

Home Retail chief executive John Walden will leave the group once Sainsbury's seals its acquisition, currently expected in the third quarter of this year.

He will be replaced by the supermarket's chief financial officer John Rogers, who joined the group six years ago, and whose current responsibilities include finance, group strategy, online and Sainsbury's Bank.

The supermarket said Mr Rogers' new role will be to combine Sainsbury's non-food business with Argos, and continue the shift towards online and digital sales the general retailer launched four years ago.

Mr Rogers' finance role will be filled on an interim basis from the same date by the supermarket's group finance director Ed Barker, who joined from fashion house Burberry in 2008.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said in May it was looking into whether the tie-up with Home Retail could result in a "substantial lessening of competition".

It will consider comments on the deal and decide whether to launch an inquiry by July 25.

Mr Walden said he will leave Home Retail Group "to pursue new career opportunities once the acquisition completes".

He joined the group in 2012 as managing director, becoming chief executive two years later, in a bid to revive its fortunes after years of lacklustre sales.

However, this year he sold the two main parts of the group's business. Its DIY chain Homebase was sold to Australian conglomerate Wesfarmers for £340 million in January.

This was followed by agreeing the sale of Argos to Sainsbury's in March after winning a bidding war with South African retailer Steinhoff.

Sainsbury's chief executive Mike Coupe said: "I am delighted to appoint John as chief executive of Home Retail upon completion of our proposed acquisition of the business.

"John is a highly talented member of the team and has played a major role in delivering our performance and strategy at Sainsbury's."

Mr Rogers will report to Mr Coupe and will remain a member of the Sainsbury's board.

Mr Walden said: "I believe the acquisition of the group by Sainsbury's is in the best interests of our customers, colleagues and shareholders.

"However this impending transaction, together with the recent sale of the Homebase business, presents the opportunity for me to reassess the next stage in my career."

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