Tributes are paid as Sainsbury's boss Justin King leaves
Sainsbury's boss Justin King was given the seal of approval by the supermarket's top grandee on his final day in charge of the business.
The tribute from life president Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover was one of a series of plaudits for Mr King, who is departing after a decade, at the grocer's annual general meeting in central London yesterday.
Mr King joined the business when it was in disarray in 2004 but has turned around its fortunes to notch up nine successive years of rising profits.
Lord Sainsbury said: "I'd like to congratulate him on his achievements and his hard work and inspiration in turning round and making Sainsbury's great again."
The tribute was in stark contrast to the brickbats endured by Dalton Philips, head of rival store Morrisons, from Sir Ken Morrison, at its recent AGM, when he issued the embattled chief executive with a humiliating slap down over his strategy.
Mr King (53) was warmly applauded by hundreds attending the meeting.
One shareholder said: "Mr King is young, the company is doing well. I cannot fathom why he is going."
The chief executive, who handed over to successor Mike Coupe following the meeting, said it had been a tough decision to depart but he did not want to stay on too long.
He said: "I think there are some examples of chief executives in our sector and others who have stayed beyond the time that was right for the company and the companies have had difficulties as a result. I believe I am leaving the business in very good hands and in very good stead."