The organisers of the City Food & Drink Lecture, which will take place on Monday 11th March 2024, have announced the keynote speaker for the event will be Simon Roberts, CEO of Sainsbury’s.

Roberts 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 CR&S Committee, supporting inclusion on the Operating Board. With over 30 years’ experience in retail, Simon began his career at Marks and Spencer, later serving as executive VP of Walgreens Boots Alliance and president of Boots UK and Ireland.

Simon is passionate about leading Sainsbury’s to put food, people and the planet at the heart of the business. Under his stewardship, Sainsbury’s has launched its Plan for Better programme and committed to achieving Net Zero in its own operations by 2035. Sainsbury’s has also made significant investments in colleague pay, leading the industry in adopting the Living Wage nationwide. 

Simon Roberts, CEO at Sainsbury’s, 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. 

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

The current chair of the City Food & Drink Lecture, Allan Wilkinson, added: “We are pleased to announce Simon Roberts, CEO of Sainsbury’s, as the keynote speaker for the 2024 City Food & Drink Lecture. With his extensive expertise in the retail sector and ongoing commitment to sustainability and social responsibility, Simon is aligned strongly with this prestigious event. 

“We look forward to welcoming him to the lecture’s line-up of past keynote speakers, which has consistently drawn high-calibre attendees since the series began in 2001, securing itself as an evening of insight and inspiration for the food and beverage industry.”