U.K. grocer J Sainsbury Plc named Martin Scicluna as its chairman, tapping a former senior executive at accounting firm Deloitte as it prepares to add Walmart Inc.’s Asda unit in a 7.3 billion-pound ($9.7 billion) deal.
Scicluna, who is also chairman of RSA Insurance Plc, will replace David Tyler in March or soon after, following a five-month handover period, Sainsbury said in a statement ahead of its annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday.
“Martin brings a breadth of experience and leadership and we look forward to welcoming him to the Sainsbury’s board at this pivotal time for the business,” Susan Rice, Sainsbury’s senior independent director, said in the statement.
Scicluna lacks direct experience of the retail industry but has commercial-property expertise through his nine-year stint as chairman of Great Portland Estates Plc. He gained exposure to payment technologies from his board membership at Worldpay Group Plc. In his time as a partner at Deloitte LLP, Scicluna’s clients included electronics retailer Dixons and WH Smith Plc. He worked there 34 years and was chairman from 1995 to 2007.
Tyler leaves after more than eight years at the helm, during which Sainsbury acquired and integrated general-merchandise retailer Argos and agreed earlier this year to buy Asda. Sainsbury said in April that it was beginning a search for his successor.
Sainsbury shares were down 0.8 percent to 326.80 pence in early London trading Wednesday.