The news that Darren Shapland is to take over from Lord Harris as Carpetright’s chief executive came as a surprise to some who assumed the founder’s son Martin was next in line for the throne at the floorings empire.

However, the rumour mill starting churning as soon as Shapland was appointed to the Carpetright board last September that there was a new successor in mind.

Shapland, who made his name at Carpetright where he was group finance director between 2002 and 2005, has long been regarded as chief executive material. During his time at Sainsbury’s, where he was chief financial officer then group development director, he was seen as a potential successor to Justin King.

Shapland spent six years at the grocer and it came as a shock when he hung up his apron last July. He was so highly thought of at Sainsbury’s that he was asked to take on the development role, which gave him scope to lead “the delivery of future plans” for the grocer. He was in charge of exploring growth routes such as overseas expansion, including China.

At the time of his departure he said he was off to “pursue a number of personal interests”. As many suspected it hasn’t taken long for him to return to retail. Shapland has an illustrious CV in the sector. Like so many retail leaders, he cut his teeth at the Burton Group. He spent 13 years at the retail group before moving on to Superdrug.

Lord Harris has talked publicly about wanting his son to take over at Carpetright. Martin Harris will remain as group commercial director but a CV as strong as Shapland’s put him in front for the top job.


September 2011 to present

  • Carpetright - non-executive director

July 2011 to present

  • Sainsbury’s Bank – chairman

August 2005 to July 2011

  • Sainsbury’s – chief financial officer/group development director

October 2002 – July 2005

  • Carpetright – group finance director

December 2000 to 2002

  • Superdrug – finance director

March 1988 to November 2000  

  • Burton Group – various roles