Justin King, chief executive officer of supermarket chain Sainsbury's, has announced that he is to leave the company after ten years in the role.
Mr King is widely credited by many analysts for helping to revive the retailer after a difficult period, and will be replaced by the company's current group commercial director Mike Coupe.
“This was not an easy decision for me to make, and in truth it will never feel like the right time to leave a company like Sainsbury,” said King. “It has been a privilege to have led the company for the past 10 years and I am incredibly proud of our achievements in that time.”
Sainsbury's chairman David Tyler labelled Mr King as "a truly exceptional leader", adding that he had left a "lasting legacy".
He added: “The board thanks him for his outstanding achievements in ‘Making Sainsbury’s Great Again’. He leaves a lasting legacy, with the company stronger than ever.”
November 2013 saw Sainsbury's make the claim that it had overtaken Asda to become the UK's biggest supermarket.
And earlier this month, Mr King had seemingly stressed that he would not be leaving his role.
He told BBC Radio 4 on January 8th: "I’ve said that I’m closer to the end of my time than the start. But I still have plenty of legs left in me yet.”
But Mr King will now stand down at the company's general meeting on July 9th.
His replacement, Mr Coupe, takes over the role having served as group commercial director since 2010, with responsibilities such as trading, marketing, IT and the company's online offering.
Before his role at the supermarket, Mr Coupe was a board director of Big Food Group, and had also previously held the position of managing director at Iceland Food Stores.
Mr Coupe paid tribute to the job done by Mr King, which he said was the main driver in the company outperforming many of its market rivals.