FORMER Nissan executive Sir Ian Gibson has been officially named as chairman of supermarket chain Morrisons.
Sir Ian, who is also chairman of The Journal’s owner, media group Trinity Mirror, will join the firm as deputy chairman in September before succeeding chairman Sir Ken Morrison by next March when he ends his 51-year reign.
Sir Ian, a non-executive director at Newcastle bakery chain Greggs, Newcastle bank Northern Rock and engineering group GKN, said: “This is a great opportunity for me to work with one of the UK’s leading companies and I am looking forward to being part of the dynamic and challenging supermarket sector once more.”
Largely credited as the man who brought Nissan to the North-East, Sir Ian spent almost 20 years at the Japanese car maker, holding a number of posts including president of Nissan Europe.
Between 1993 and 1999 he was deputy chairman of Asda and was a board member when US supermarket group Walmart took over the company.
Wm Morrison chief executive Marc Bolland said: “The executive board is delighted with Sir Ian’s appointment. Not only does he bring tremendous experience but I am also sure that he will fit in well with our culture.”
Knighted in 2000 for services to food retailing, Sir Ken joined the firm founded by his father in 1952 and took over as chairman and managing director four years later. He transformed it from a small trader into a FTSE 100 company.
But Sir Ken ran into trouble after Morrisons’ £3bn takeover of rival Safeway in 2004, which was dogged by problems in distribution, administration and IT. The problems led to a string of profits warnings and Morrisons’ first annual loss.
Sir Ken said: “Sir Ian Gibson’s combination of retail sector and strategic board experience will no doubt be vital at this important stage in the company’s evolution and I am delighted that he has decided to join the Morrisons team.”
Manchester-born Sir Ian, 60, was made a CBE in 1991 and knighted in 1999 for services to industry.
With 368 supermarkets, WM Morrison has around nine million customers a week and employs 117,000 staff across its stores, factories, depots and offices.