LONDON (FNS) -- J. Sainsbury plc announced a major management shakeup following the arrival of Sir Peter Davis as its group chief executive.
The moves led some analysts to speculate even more radical changes could lie ahead, with perhaps the sale of Sainsbury's Homebase hardware chain in the U.K. or its Shaw's Supermarkets subsidiary in East Bridgewater, Mass.
The group Friday removed David Bremner, managing director of its struggling U.K. supermarkets business, as well as Kevin McCarten, formerly stores director of its U.K. division. Davis, who took over as chief executive at the beginning of the month, now will directly oversee Sainsbury's U.K. supermarkets.
"It is clear to me that if I am to bring about the scale and pace of change that I believe is necessary then it requires me to take active day-to-day control of the supermarkets business," Davis said in a statement.
Robin Whitbread, a longtime Sainsbury's executive and board director, will become retail director of Sainsbury's.
The company has consistently lost market share over the last five years to Tesco plc, Cheshunt, England, which surpassed Sainsbury's to become Britain's largest food retailer. It also recently has lost share to Asda, now a subsidiary of Wal-Mart. Despite its problems in the U.K., Sainsbury's executives in the past have consistently denied reports the company planned to sell Shaw's.