His departure – after two years in the role – comes as latest industry figures show that Asda has nudged ahead and moved into the number two spot in the sector, behind Tesco.
Fallon has been hired by H&K to fill its reinstated public affairs MD post and will report to head of corporate affairs Andrew Pharoah, who was managing director of public affairs until last year, when his role was broadened to include corporate PR work.
Sainbury’s head of property PR Tina Chritou, who has been with the company for two years, has been appointed acting PA chief.
Sainbury’s director of communications Jan Shawe said Fallon’s departure was not linked to restructuring and a replacement for Fallon would be made within the ‘next two months’.
‘We are interviewing a number of internal and external candidates for Tim’s replacement. His departure did not really come as shock. He had been at Sainbury’s for two years, and he felt it was time to move on. It was a career move,’ she said.
Shawe denied morale at the retailer was low, despite the slump to third in the supermarket sector, and said her 40-strong communications team was committed and of a ‘high calibre’.
‘We work in a very competitive market and it takes time to turn things around. The communications team is superb,’ she added.
The new appointee will also be charged with a newly merged corporate social responsibility brief.
Fallon joined Sainsbury’s two years ago from Bell Pottinger Public Affairs, where he was a director.
‘I wanted fresh challenges and had been speaking to a number of agencies for some time. One was H&K,’ said Fallon, who starts next month.