In comes the king: M&S hires Sainsbury's veteran Justin King as non-exec director

Sebastian McCarthy
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King was director of food at Marks and Spencer before joining Sainsbury's (Source: Getty)

Retail chief Justin King has re-joined the Marks and Spencer board as a non-executive director.

The former Sainsbury's boss, who is the fourth new hire for the M&S boardroom in the last year, will continue to serve as vice chairman of Terra Firma as he takes on the new role in January.

King has built up a formidable reputation in the City, having served as the boss of Sainsbury's for more than a decade and previously been part of the turnaround team at Asda and a director of food at M&S.

Such an appointment comes as M&S battles against a series of tough trading challenges, with boss Steve Rowe recently pledging to leave “no stone unturned” in its bid to restructure the business.

Sales in the retailer's food and fashion departments have dropped in the last year amid rising costs, more competition and major structural changes in the way people are shopping.

In a statement on King's new appointment, Rowe said today: "I am delighted that Justin has agreed to join us. As we navigate the challenges ahead it will be enormously helpful to have his experience, wisdom and insight on the board. Many colleagues remember his time at M&S and will warmly welcome him back."

M&S chairman Archie Norman added: "Justin's appointment completes a very significant reorientation of the board in the last year. He will be a great addition to a strong team."

Commenting on his appointment, King said: "Having worked there 15 years ago, M&S has a very special place in my affections. I look forward to joining the Board and supporting Steve in the turnaround that he is leading."