J Sainsbury CEO’s singing hits a sour note on social media
Mike Coupe, the CEO of J Sainsbury, had plenty of reasons to feel good after the announcement earlier this week that his company and Walmart’s Asda division had agreed on a merger that would make the combined business the largest grocery store operator in the U.K.
While waiting to do an interview on the set of ITV News, Mr. Coupe expressed his glee in song. His rendition of “We’re in the Money” was caught on video and distributed on social media along with subtitles, for those not familiar with the lyrics. The result was swift — public derision as Mr. Coupe was depicted as another insensitive executive set to benefit financially while many workers will likely to lose their jobs as the merged company goes in search of efficiencies.
In the 40-second ITV News video on YouTube, Mr. Coupe sings, “We’re in the money, the sky is sunny. Let’s send it, lend it, spend it, rolling along.”
“What on earth will Asda workers who are worrying about their futures think when they see this,” asked Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB union, which represents retail workers in the UK. “It’s not only crass, it’s completely, utterly unprofessional and insensitive.”
Sainsbury’s CEO apologized for the optics surrounding the video.
“This was an unguarded moment trying to compose myself before a TV interview. It was an unfortunate choice of song, from the musical ‘42nd Street’ which I saw last year, and I apologize if I have offended anyone,” said Mr. Coupe.
- Sainsbury’s CEO filmed singing “we’re in the money” before Asda merger interview | ITV News – YouTube
- ‘We’re in the Money’: Sainsbury’s Chief Sings Himself Into Trouble – The New York Times
- GMB Union – Twitter
- Sainsbury and Walmart’s Asda to create grocery powerhouse – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you make of Mike Coupe’s singing on the set of ITV News and the apology he offered following the distribution online? Will the video have an effect on Mr. Coupe’s ability to lead the combined companies should the merger of Sainsbury’s and Asda be approved?