Wednesday 23 October 2019

Argos boss jumps ship to join ad giant WPP

John Rogers is leaving on October 31 after three years in the role and more than 14 years at Sainsbury’s.

Sainsbury’s says the boss of its Argos chain is quitting to join marketing giant WPP (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Sainsbury’s says the boss of its Argos chain is quitting to join marketing giant WPP (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By Holly Williams, PA Deputy City Editor

Supermarket Sainsbury’s has been dealt a blow after the boss of its Argos chain revealed plans to quit and join advertising giant WPP.

John Rogers, who had been tipped as a potential successor to Sainsbury’s chief executive Mike Coupe, is leaving on October 31 after three years in the job and more than 14 years with the grocery giant.

He is to become WPP’s chief financial officer, but will not start in the role until early 2020.

Sainsbury’s confirmed it is not replacing Mr Rogers at Argos, with main responsibilities instead being split between retail and operations director Simon Roberts and commercial director Paul Mills-Hicks.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said the supermarket’s potential succession plan had been “thrown into some disarray”.

He said: “The exit of an obvious internal replacement for current chief executive Mike Coupe could suggest the latter is staying put for some time, despite the damage to his reputation from the failed merger with Asda.”

Mr Rogers said the opportunity at WPP was “too good to miss”.

He added: “As a technology-driven business with creativity at its heart, joining WPP was an opportunity impossible to resist and I look forward to playing my part in helping the business deliver its new strategy.”

He succeeds WPP’s group finance director, Paul Richardson, who is retiring.

Mr Coupe said: “John has worked alongside me for over 14 years and has made an outstanding contribution to the business.

“He leaves Sainsbury’s with our best wishes for the future.”

Mr Rogers has overseen a digital push during his time at the helm of Argos, with about 65% of the chain’s sales now online.

Argos was bought by Sainsbury’s when the takeover of Home Retail Group completed in September 2016.

Sainsbury’s has since been integrating the group, last week announcing that it will shut up to another 70 Argos shops and instead open about 80 within its supermarkets as part of wider group plans.

It already has 289 Argos stores within its supermarkets and more than 600 high street outlets.

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