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David John Sainsbury, Baron Sainsbury of Turville Hon. FRS (born 24 October 1940) is a Britishmarker businessman and politician. He is a life peer as Baron Sainsbury of Turville, of Turvillemarker in the County of Buckinghamshire and sits in the House of Lordsmarker as a member of the Labour Party.

Early and private life

He is the son of Sir Robert Sainsbury. His three elder sisters are Elizabeth (Elizabeth Clark 19 Jul 1938 - 14 Aug 1977), Celia and Annabel. He is the nephew of Lord Sainsbury. His cousins are the Conservative peer Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover, Simon Sainsbury and former Tory MP Tim Sainsbury. His great-grandparents, John James Sainsbury and Mary Ann Staples, established a grocer's at 173 Drury Lanemarker in 1869 which became the British supermarket chain Sainsbury'smarker.

He attended Eton Collegemarker. He holds a BA degree in History and Psychology from King's College, Cambridgemarker and an MBA from Columbia University.

He and his wife Suzie (a former teacher), have three daughters, one of whom is Clare Sainsbury, who wrote Martian In The Playground, to help people understand Asperger syndrome.

He lives in the Manor of Turville in Turvillemarker in the County of Buckinghamshire. The Manor of Turville once belonged to the abbey at St Albans, but was seized by the Crown in the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1547. The manor house has since been rebuilt as Turville Park, a fine stately home in the village.

He was made a life peer as Baron Sainsbury of Turville, of Turvillemarker in the County of Buckinghamshire in 1997, following Labour's election victory.

On 10 September 2007, he was awarded an honorary degree in Science at the University College Londonmarker.

Business career

David Sainsbury joined the family firm, then known as 'J. Sainsbury Ltd.', in 1963 after failing to get the grades to become a scientist, working in the personnel department. He became a director in 1966. He was Financial Controller from 1971 to 1973, just before the Company's floatation.

When the company listed on the London Stock Exchange on 12 July 1973, which was at the time the largest floatation ever, his family at the time retained control with an 85% stake. His father Sir Robert Sainsbury gave his entire 18% stake to David Sainsbury, his only son, whereas his uncle Alan Sainsbury split his 18% stake in the business between his sons John Davan Sainsbury, Simon Sainsbury and Tim Sainsbury, and so they held 6% each.

It is believed that Sir Robert Sainsbury gave David his entire shareholding (rather than split it equally between his four children) so that his son would have more votes at the table. This was done because it was believed Sir Robert considered John Davan Sainsbury (who became Chairman in 1969 on Sir Robert Sainsbury's retirement) to have a forceful, autocratic style of leadership, whereas David was always more cautious.

He was the group's Finance Director from 1973 to 1990, during which time the Company grew rapidly. He was Chairman of Savacentre from 1984 to 1993, during which time the hypermarkets business grew slowly. He was Deputy Chairman from 1988 to 1992, but always seemed to be in the background as JD Sainsbury was always the driving force behind Sainsbury's success in its heyday in the 1970s and 1980s. On JD Sainsbury's retirement as Chairman and Chief Executive on 2 November 1992, David Sainsbury became Chairman, a move that was never officially discussed at a J Sainsbury plc board meeting.

David's character as Chairman was very different to that of JD. He commuted to work on the London Underground, as opposed to being chauffeur driven in a Bentley, and drove to stores in a Chevrolet people carrier, as opposed to driving a Bentley. On his inspections, he was always polite, but this meant colleagues in store did not know if they were doing things right or not. The Sainsbury's management seemed to be blind when staff in stores started seeing customers defecting to Tescomarker due to a lack of innovation, arrogance and complacency, and blaming customers too often. This was not helped by the fact that JD had an autocratic style of leadership, and so compiled a management team full of "Yes Men" who were used to taking orders from JD. In contrast, even though his values and beliefs on Sainsbury's position in the marketplace were almost identical to those of JD's, David had a democratic style of leadership, and so with no senior management changes in 1993, JD's "Yes Men" were suddenly unguided on what they should do, even though Sainsbury's strategy remained broadly unchanged from that of JD's during David's reign. Tesco overtook Sainsbury's to become the UK's largest supermarket chain in 1995.

During JD's Chairmanship, profit before tax in the 1980s always increased by 20% or more each year, which was ahead of sales growth, meaning profit margins increased. In 1993, Sainsbury's posted a 16.7% increase in both sales and profits. It went downhill from there. In 1996, Sainsbury's announced its first drop in profits in 22 years, and the first of three profits warnings during David's chairmanship was issued. Although there were senior management changes, which included David relinquishing the Chief Executive's role to Dino Adriano and becoming Non-Executive Chairman, there were no new directors or outsiders appointed to the senior management team. Profits fell the next year, but rose in 1998. At this point, David Sainsbury, who had wanted to step down at the end of 1997, announced his retirement as Chairman to pursue his long-held ambition to have a career in politics, after "32 enjoyable and fulfilling years" working for Sainsbury's. Although the announcement was a surprise, Sainsbury's share price actually increased on the day of this announcement.

On his retirement as Chairman, to avoid any conflict of interest, David Sainsbury placed his then 23% stake in Sainsbury's into a "blind" trust, to be administered by lawyer Miss Judith Portrait. When David Sainsbury announced his intention to give away £1billion to charity in 2005, his 23% stake got sold down, eventually to 12.9% by early 2007. His beneficial holding became just 7.75% when he re-gained control of his shares in February 2007 following his decision to step down as Science and Innovation Minister in November 2006. During the private equity takeover bid in the first half of 2007, David's instinct further contrasted with that of JD. Whilst David indicated he was willing to let the Sainsbury's board open its books for due diligence if someone offered him a price of 600 pence per share or more, his cousin JD Sainsbury was more extreme as he refused to sell his interest of just under 3% at any price.

As of August 2009, David Sainsbury retains a sizeable shareholding in his family's Sainsbury'smarker supermarket chain (around 5.85%). To further his philanthropy interests, he placed 92million of his shares (representing 5.28% of the Company's share capital), into his investment vehicle, Innotech Advisers Ltd (which donates all its dividends to charity), meaning his beneficial stake is just 0.57% (lower than JD's 1.6% beneficial interest). The Sainsbury family as a whole control approximately 15% of Sainsbury's. In the Sunday Times Rich List 2008 his family fortune was estimated at £1.3 billion.

Politics career

David Sainsbury has always had a personal passion for politics. He joined the Labour Party in the 1960s, but supported the SDP following its formation.

Sainsbury was a supporter of the Social Democratic Party, including significant financial support, remaining a trustee until 1990. He changed allegiance to the Labour Party following the failure of the SDP to make substantial progress.

He has donated millions of pounds to the Labour Party, and has been associated with the Institute for Public Policy Research and Progress.

David Sainsbury gave £2 million to the Labour Party in 1996, £1 million in 1997 and £2 million in September 1999. He gave a further £2 million in January 2001, and a further £2 million December 2001.

From July 1998 to November 2006 he held the post of Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Trade and Industry with responsibility for Science and Innovation in the House of Lordsmarker, an unpaid government position.

In July 2006 he was questioned by police in the "Cash for Peerages" inquiry. He made a £2 million loan to the Labour Party.

On 10 November 2006 he resigned as science minister stating that he wanted to focus on business and charity work.

On 7 September 2007 he donated a further £2 million to Labour, which cancelled out Labour's requirement to pay back the £2 million loan to him. He said he was impressed by Gordon Brown's leadership, and donated the money as he believed "that Labour is the only party which is committed to delivering both social justice and economic prosperity".

On 15 December 2008, he donated a further £500,000 to the Labour Party, to help support the Labour Party's campaigns.

David Sainsbury is believed to have donated more than £16 million to the Labour Party.

In 2009 he created the Institute for Government with £15 million of funding, through the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, to help government and opposition politicians to prepare for political transitions and government.

Charitable works

David Sainsbury is a noted philanthropist and founded the Gatsby Charitable Foundation in 1967. In 1993 he donated £200m of Sainsbury's shares to the Foundation's assets.. By 2009 the foundation had given £660m to a range of charitable causes.In 2009 he allocated a further £465 million to the foundation, this will made him the first Briton to donate more than £1 billion to charity.

He set up the Sainsbury Management Fellowship scheme in 1987 to develop UK engineers into leaders in industry.

He was made an honorary fellow of the Royal Society in May 2008.

See also


External links

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