It is weird enough having two Lord Sainsburys – one of whom is a staunch Tory and the other a huge Labour donor-turned-minister in Tony Blair’s government.
It is stranger still having a wife (of Sir Tim, the former Tory minister), who helped finance a home for a former Kray associate.
The Sainsbury family speak for about 38% of the supermarket group, giving them a fair amount of clout on issues such as Sir Peter’s golden handshake. Yet working out who calls the shots is a near-impossible task.
Ostensibly, the figurehead is Lord (David) Sainsbury of Turville, 63, who was chairman in the nineties before becoming minister of science and innovation. The retailer’s fortunes waned under his stewardship. His shares are held in a blind trust, distancing him from decision-making.
Then there is his cousin, Lord (John) Sainsbury of Preston Candover, 76, the Tory supporter who made Sainsbury’s a dominant force as chairman from 1969-92.
Various fifth-generation family members appear happy to take the dividends and indulge in their love of charity and the arts. Only Mark, son of the older Lord Sainsbury, has shown entrepreneurial flair.
You can’t really blame them. In all these great dynasties, whether the Clarks, the Sainsburys or the Whitbreads, the younger family members grow up in a world where money is dispensed through trusts. Running a business? That’s what servants are for.
- Jon Ashworth, business features editor at The Times.
Does Darwin's theory apply to taxation? Colin ponders...
The EC has been instructed to draft a European Union (EU) directive authorising an EU financial transaction tax, which would apply to ten of the EU’s 28 member states
Accountancy watchdog the FRC has dropped its investigation into the former chief financial officer of Tesco, nearly two years after the supermarket was engulfed in an accounting scandal
Colin imagines how Apple's logo might change in the wake of the EC's ruling over its Irish tax arrangements