Sainsbury's hit by shareholders' ire over Prosser

Supermarket group Sainsbury's performed a humiliating about-turn after Sir Ian Prosser's appointment as deputy chairman was faced down by angry investors.

On Tuesday the grocer, battered by a wave of shareholder fury, announced that it would go back to square one and begin a new search for an eventual successor to Sir Peter Davis.

The retailer faced wrath from investment institutions, which objected to lack of consultation about Prosser's appointment and questioned his record at Bass.

The timing of the row was especially embarrassing because it threatened to overshadow the arrival of Justin King as chief executive in April. There are high hopes that King will deliver the turnaround that has so far eluded Sainsbury's.

Separately, Sainsbury's has acquired 54-strong c-store business Bells, which operates in the Northeast. Bells will 'operate as a separate business unit' under the existing management, Sainsbury's said.

- Leader: page 11.