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Mike Coupe could be ditched after botched attempt to merge with Asda

Shares in Sainsbury’s climbed after reports it is seeking to replace beleaguered chief executive Mike Coupe.

The supermarket’s stock rose more than 3 per cent on Monday as investors cheered the rumours that Coupe could be ditched after his botched attempt to merge with rival Asda.

Sainsbury’s denied the claims that Coupe could be leaving soon and internal candidates were being lined up to succeed him.

Sainsbury’s denied the claims that under-pressure Mike Coupe, who was forced to defend his £3.9m pay package last month, could be leaving soon but said it had plans for a succession

But a spokesman admitted the grocer has succession plans in place, saying this is normal for any business.

Coupe, 58, was forced to defend his £3.9million pay package last month when he was blasted by investors at Sainsbury’s annual meeting over a stark decline in its share price.

The stock has slumped more than 40 per cent over the past year, driven lower by competition regulators’ decision to block a £14billion merger with Asda on which Coupe had staked his reputation.

Despite shareholder ire, chairman Martin Scicluna voiced his support for Coupe, calling him ‘the right guy to be serving us right now’.

Shares rose 3.2 per cent, or 5.85p, to 188.35p.

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