UPDATE 1-Ahead of Asda takeover Sainsbury’s picks Scicluna as next chairman

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LONDON (Reuters) – Sainsbury’s (SBRY.L), Britain’s second largest supermarket group, on Wednesday named Martin Scicluna as it next chairman, giving him the job of steering through its 7.3 billion pounds ($9.69 billion) takeover of rival Asda.

FILE PHOTO: A Sainsbury’s sign is seen at a supermarket in west London, November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Scicluna, who currently holds the same role at RSA Insurance (RSA.L) and property firm Great Portland Estates (GPOR.L), will join Sainsbury’s board as chairman-designate and non-executive director on Nov. 1 and succeed David Tyler as non-executive chairman in March 2019 or soon after. Tyler has held the role since 2009.

In April Sainsbury’s agreed a combination with Walmart (WMT.N) owned Asda, the No. 3 player, which will overtake Tesco (TSCO.L) as Britain’s biggest supermarket chain.

The deal is being looked at by Britain’s regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

The CMA’s probe is expected to be lengthy and Sainsbury’s does not anticipate the deal being concluded until the second half of 2019.

On appointment, Scicluna’s fee will be 237,500 pounds annually as chairman designate and 475,000 annually as chairman.

His appointment was announced ahead of Sainsbury’s annual shareholders’ meeting on Wednesday.

Shares in Sainsbury’s, up 36 percent this year on the back of the Asda deal, closed on Tuesday at 329.4 pence, valuing the business at 7.2 billion pounds.

Reporting by James Davey; editing by Alistair Smout and Jason Neely

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