Sainsbury’s has announced the appointment of its first chief people officer – Prerana Issar – who takes over from Angie Risley, group HR director.
Issar was previously the first chief people officer at NHS England, which included the numerous challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. She stepped down in 2022 after three years in the role.
Prior to that, she worked at the UN World Food Programme in Rome as director of public-private partnerships from 2017 to 2019 and chief HR officer from 2013 to 2017.
Issar began her career in HR business partnering in several roles at Unilever in India, including two factories and a large sales organisation.
After a spell as a research associate in business strategy at INSEAD business school near Paris, she returned to Unilever as leadership development and talent director in 2005, before becoming vice-president of HR for global foods from 2011 to 2013.
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Risley will be retiring from Sainsbury’s to further develop her non-executive director portfolio. She is currently NED and chair of the remuneration committee at Smith+Nephew, the medical technology company.
Risley has driven recent cultural change across Sainsbury’s, which includes the Argos and Habitat brands, and remains in her role until June supporting Issar’s transition and handover.
Sainsbury’s chief executive Simon Roberts said that Issar “brings a multi-sector background and a strong and broad HR experience to our business, especially with her focus on purpose as both a unifying force and a driver of business results.
“In this crucial third year of our Food First plan and as we look to the future, we will continue to drive forward our strategy through engaging and mobilising all our people and as a result, deliver the best possible experience for our customers.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Angie for everything she has done for our business and our team over the last 10 years. She has been a committed member of the operating board throughout her time with us and I am hugely grateful to her for everything she has done.”