A taste of the future – Sainsbury’s chairman David Tyler

So one FD hands over the reins to another FD. Big deal.

Well, this is a big deal, because it’s not a straight FD swap. Serial
non-exec and former finance chief Sir Philip Hampton has moved out of his role
as chairman of Sainsbury’s ­ with another FD par excellence replacing him.

David Tyler, currently non-exec chairman at Logica and former group finance
director at GUS joins the major grocery retailer, which suggests that having a
strong financial background on the old CV does you no harm at all if you’re
after big non-exec roles.

What’s happened?
Former British Steel, British Gas, BT and Lloyds TSB finance chief Sir Philip
Hampton has stepped down after four very successful years as chairman at

Sir Philip has also kept himself quite busy with his chairmanship at RBS
since February, and is a non-exec and audit committee chair at Belgacom for good

But his replacement at the retailer is no lightweight, and would appear to be
after Sir Philip’s crown in terms of bagging big roles after an excellent career
in finance.
Tyler spent ten years at Argos-to-Experian group GUS between 1997 and 2006. He
is non-exec chairman at Logica and NED of former GUS businesses Experian and
Burberry ­ plus a position at Reckitt Benckiser.

His Sainsbury’s post is expected to keep him busy for two-to-three days at
week, and he will pocket a cool £450,000 for his troubles.

Tyler is seen very much as a straight-up, no-nonsense FD, who helped drive
much change during his tenure at GUS. Argos and Experian now have separate
listings, its 65% stake in Burberry was sold off by the group in 2006, and
Homebase was acquired in 2002.

When interviewed by Financial Director just days after the sale of Burberry,
Tyler said the shakeup at the group and Argos/Experian split was simply driven
for the best interest of the shareholders: “You may be happy to be invested in
both, but today you don’t have the choice to adapt your portfolio. You’re taking
the mix that the board of GUS decides to give you.”

What happens next?
FD recruiter Mark Freebairn says
(read full article here)
that Tyler’s appointment is another indicator that business is coming to
understand senior finance professionals have the broad skillset required to
chair a company.

As for Tyler, the future holds a second quarter trading statement on 7
October, and some big shoes to fill.

After a 7.8% increase on like-for-like sales in Q1, plus the announcement of
a £400m capital raising plan to accelerate the supermarket’s expansion, Tyler
will no doubt earn his keep.

Related reading