Speculation that Sainsburys CEO Justin King is being lined up to replace Bernie Ecclestone at Formula One Management has once again flared up after the billionaire refused to deny the rumours.
Formula One’s owner, CVC, is reportedly lining up possible candidates to replace Ecclestone who, at the age of 82, will likely have to retire in the coming years.
He is also under investigation by German authorities for his involvement in the sale of the sport in 2006 to CVC, which has already seen german banker Gerhard Gribkowsky arrested and jailed.
When asked about King being his successor, Ecclestone said: “I’ve no idea whether the boss of a company like Sainsbury’s could do my job. Maybe he could.”
The current boss of Sainsburys has also held senior roles at Mars, Pepsi and Asda. So he certainly has the experience required to lead a large organisation.
He is also a keen motorsports fan, with his son, Jordan, set to participate in the European Formula 3 series this year – funded in part by Sainsburys suppliers.
The rumour, Ecclestone’s failure to deny it, and CVC’s recent hiring or headhunting firm Egon Zehnder, could all just be a ploy amid F1’s expected flotation which is set to go ahead later this year.