J Sainsbury’s confirms new head of legal

J Sainsbury’s has named Nick Grant as head of group legal services. This formalises the role he has filled on a temporary basis since the retirement of David Thurston last year.

The retailer began a lengthy and wide-ranging search for a replacement when Thurston announced his retirement in May, even though Grant was understood to be a favoured candidate for the role. Grant took on the role of acting head of legal during the search.

Linklaters remains chief corporate adviser to the supermarket chain. The retailer also uses other firms, including Addleshaw Goddard and Dickinson Dees.

Thurston spent the last 11 of his 18 years at Sainsbury’s as head of legal. He retired to pursue other interests.

During his tenure, Thurston overhauled the 21-strong in-house legal function and also hired the company’s first in-house property lawyer, Katherine Kinch.

Sainsbury’s implemented a new legal structure in April 2004, splitting the legal department into three teams comprising advisory, property and operations.