Saturday, November 11, 2006

So farewell then, David Sainsbury

OK, so that sounds rather too apocalyptic -- it's only a resignation, after all. You'll still be able to see him around, probably stacking the shelves at the local store (well, he has said he's not going to take the top job again).

It's some time since I've seen him -- eighteen years, to be precise. It was in his SDP days, of course, when he came to speak at a meeting I'd arranged. Taking him to dinner was slightly bizarre: we undergraduates could stand him a meal at Pizza Express, and that let him regale us with tales of the chain's owner, his friend nice Mr Boizot.

He was pleasant enough then, and so I'm sure he has remained. But that, I thought, was that: he's nowhere near being a politician to set the pulse racing and get the juices oozing. That his resignation is such high-profile news is more a reflection of the paucity of other stories rather than a tribute to his intrinsic charisma. But something he's said has made me rethink my opinion.

In assessing his own achievements, he's highlighted the part he's played in the war on 'animal rights' extremists -- getting a change in the law and a police unit set up to help deal with this problem. And, yes, sitting here in Oxford, where those extremists want to stop scientific research and the laboratory needed for it, that certainly is an achievement. There's little good I would credit the Labour government with having done, but this would be in the short list. So, thank you, Mr Sainsbury. You deserved that pizza.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad Lord Sainsbury III has resigned.

Although he made an excellent science minister- he was well liked by the local community- I do have reservations.

Giving money to the Labour Party whilst still chairman of his eponymous supermarkets was not a wise idea.

It gave the impression that Sainsbury's was merely the political fund- raising wing of a) the Sainsbury family and b) the Labour Party.

He was chairman of Sainsbury's between 1992 and 1998.

In 1995 Teso surpassed J Sainsbury as the UK's leading grocer.

J Sainsbury has never recovered in terms of profitability.

To be precise, it needs to make more than £808m in pre- tax profit to say it has recovered from its woes in the 1990's.

I think that Lord (David) Sainsbury ought to make sure that that is what happens.

He really must make sure that his family business is cutting edge, does not get complacent or arrogant, stays innovative, and listens to customers.

Enter: Justin King.


Try something new today.