Simon Roberts says he will share his thoughts on how industry can work together “to build resilient, integrated food system”

Simon Roberts Sainsbury's

Simon Roberts stepped up to be Sainsbury’s CEO during the pandemic

Sainsbury’s CEO Simon Roberts has been announced as the City Food & Drink Lecture’s 2024 keynote speaker.

The event will take place on Monday 11 March 2024 at London’s Guildhall.

Simon was appointed CEO in June 2020 after joining Sainsbury’s in July 2017 as retail and operations director. He is also a member of the retailer’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Committee, supporting inclusion on the Operating Board.

With over 30 years’ experience in retail, Roberts began his career at Marks and Spencer, later serving as executive VP of Walgreens Boots Alliance and president of Boots UK and Ireland.

Under his stewardship, Sainsbury’s has launched its Plan for Better programme and committed to reaching net zero in its own operations by 2035.

The supermarket chain has also made significant investments in staff pay, adopting the Living Wage nationwide.

Roberts said: “I am honoured to be speaking at this prestigious event which has built a reputation for insightful thought leadership, addressing key issues in the UK food and drink sector.

“The food industry has never been a more dynamic place to be, with economic, environmental, geopolitical, societal, and technological forces all driving fast and constant innovation and change.

“At Sainsbury’s, ‘good food’, in all senses, from nutrition and quality to price and provenance, is right at the heart of our business and continues to drive everything we stand for.

“I look forward to sharing my thoughts on how we can work together as an industry to build a resilient, integrated food system and a better, healthier world around us, protecting ‘good food’ for generations to come.”

Current chair of the City Food & Drink Lecture, Allan Wilkinson, added: “With his extensive expertise in the retail sector and ongoing commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, Simon is aligned strongly with this prestigious event.”

Since it began in 2001, the City Food & Drink Lecture has attracted influential and high-profile figures from across the food and drinks industries, with up to 700 people attending the invitation-only event each year.

Roberts joins a long list of well-known lecturers, including last year’s highly respected speaker Sir Charles Godfray, director of Oxford University’s Oxford Martin School and its Future of Food programme.