Sainsbury’s new chairman questioned over role in disastrous Lloyds deal

Sainsbury's plastic

Sainsbury’s new incoming chairman Martin Scicluna has been criticised by shareholders, forcing the grocer to defend its decision.

Scicluna, who is due to succeed David Tyler next year ahead of Sainsbury’s proposed £12 billion merger with Asda, has been questioned for his role in Lloyds’ 2008 takeover of HBOS.

The deal brought Lloyds close to complete collapse, forcing it to call for £20 billion in taxpayers’ money in order to survive and costing shareholders huge sums.

An independent investor questioned Scicluna’s role on the board of Lloyds during this mperiod, highlighting the “lack of diligence in 2008 by a number of individuals” and adding that he didn’t “want a similar thing occurring in 2019 when we merge with Asda”.

The grocer was quick to defend the decision.

Its independent director who headhunted Scicluna for the role Dame Susan Rice said the “coming together of Lloyds and HBOS couldn’t be more different than the transaction that we are looking at just now”.

She added that he joined the board days after the terms of the takeover were agreed, and that she saw “absolutely no relation or overlap there”.

Scicluna is due to join the board of J Sainsbury – the parent company of Sainsbury’s, Tu, Argos and Habitat – as chairman-designate and non-executive director from November 1.

He will work closely with Tyler for a handover period and Sainsbury’s said it anticipates that Scicluna will assume the role of chairman as early as the beginning of its new financial year in March 2019.

Tyler would officially depart the business soon after.

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