A Sainsbury’s spokeswoman told PRWeek that he would continue to work with the company on a part-time consultancy basis.
She said there was no news at present on a successor. The search for a permanent replacement to Alex Cole, the former full-time corporate affairs director, began after Cole announced her plan to join Bupa as director of corporate affairs in March 2014.
Datson, who was formerly Tesco media director, took on the corporate affairs director position at Sainsbury’s on an interim basis in mid-2014. Before that he was head of corporate comms at Sainsbury’s.
Datson’s departure comes as Sainsbury’s looks to appoint new agencies to handle its PR. The firm held chemistry sessions last month for the "corporate affairs cross-functional brief", which includes three separate strands: consumer (food, brand and health), corporate comms and corporate responsibility.
Datson, who has also been head of global financial comms at Cadbury, signed off with a humorous email to journalists, the London Evening Standard reports.
"Good luck with your noble quest to bring true enlightenment to the great British public, and also maybe get in above the fold somewhere the right side of the horoscope," he wrote. "Finally: let me reassure you that no traces of horsemeat have been found in this email."