// Former Sainsbury’s CEO Mike Couple appointed NHS Test and Trace testing director
// Couple resigned from Sainsbury’s at the end of May, after 6 years as CEO and 15 years with the company
The former chief executive of Sainsbury’s is to take over as testing director at NHS Test and Trace.
Mike Coupe, who retired as chief executive officer of the Big 4 grocer at the end of May, is set to replace Sarah-Jane Marsh who is returning to her post as chief executive of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
Baroness Dido Harding, who runs NHS Test and Trace and is interim executive chairwoman of the National Institute for Health Protection, said in an email to staff that Coupe “will bring a wealth of experience in large scale supply chains, logistics and digital transformation”.
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It is understood he will be in the role until Christmas.
Harding said in the email, seen by the Health Service Journal: “We have been incredibly privileged to be able to ‘borrow’ Sarah-Jane for the last five months but it will soon be time for her to return to her substantive role as CEO of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s NHS Foundation Trust.
“Sarah-Jane has led the team with unparalleled drive, compassion, and humour.”
Harding said Coupe has “worked for 35 years in the food retail industry and will bring a wealth of experience in large scale supply chains, logistics and digital transformation”.
“Mike will undertake a period of induction over the next month, working with Sarah-Jane and the team across Testing, initially focused on scaling new testing technologies, and will take over the Testing helm when Sarah-Jane leaves us at the end of October,” she said.
In 2018, Coupe was forced to apologise after being caught singing Broadway hit We’re In The Money in between media interviews about a proposed merger with supermarket giant Asda – which was eventually blocked by the CMA.
He has denied that the failure of the merger was the reason behind his exit from Sainsbury’s.
Although he had been its chief executive for six years, Coupe worked for Sainsbury’s for more than 15 years and was instrumental in expanding the company through its £1.4 billion acquisition of Argos and Habitat in 2016.
with PA Wires