Two of the retail industry’s most outstanding leaders, who in different ways helped shape its direction, have died.

Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, who turned Sainsbury’s into the grocery market leader, has died aged 94.

Lord Myners, who chaired M&S as it fended off hostile interest from Sir Philip Green, and later chaired the Co-op when it was in crisis, died aged 73.

Lord Sainsbury spent 40 years at the grocer, during which time it blazed a trail in food retail and changed the industry landscape. He took up his first role at Sainsbury’s in 1950, became a director in 1958 and when he stood down in 1992, was chair and chief executive. 

A remarkable life

Sainsbury’s chair Martin Scicluna said: ”We are all deeply saddened to learn of the death of our life president, Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover. He lived a remarkable life.

”Under his stewardship, we modernised our stores, developed our food ranges and floated Sainsbury’s on the London Stock Exchange in what was, at the time, the UK’s largest-ever initial public offering.” 

Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said: ”On behalf of Sainsbury’s colleagues past and present, I extend our heartfelt condolences to Lady Sainsbury and the rest of Lord John’s family.

”Lord Sainsbury was a shopkeeper to his core and one of the great retailers of his time. He was ambitious for the company and led Sainsbury’s through an unprecedented period of growth; he was a truly inspirational man.

”While he will be missed by many, his huge contribution to Sainsbury’s and the values he cared about and believed in so much will remain alive at the heart of our business.”

Lord Rose, who as chief executive of M&S fought off Sir Philip Green’s bid, told The Guardian of Myners: ”He stood out, he was a man of immense wisdom. Intellectually very strong, a self-made man who was humble and loyal to the core.

”In this world, we’re surrounded by today in business and public life, he had a massive moral compass. He knew instinctively what was right and wrong and stood up for the little man.”