Shawe has been asked to stay on at the supermarket chain to help CEO Justin King find a replacement PR boss.
Shawe told PRWeek she had always planned to leave Sainsbury’s after former CEO Sir Peter Davis took the post of chairman last year. Sainsbury’s shareholders ousted Davis on 1July.
Earlier this month Sainsbury's avoided a potentially-embarrassing defeat at its AGM after the Sainsbury family backed the board in a row over executive pay.
Shawe added that she had agreed to stay on to help Sainsbury’s through its results later this year, after which she would ‘have some months off’.
A source close to Shawe said she was mulling over several ‘high-profile’ roles that have already been offered to her.
But the source dismissed any suggestion that she planned to link up again with Davis.
Shawe’s replacement will have responsibility for all Sainsbury’s communications, such as its media centre, public affairs, internal comms and PR for its property arm.
Sainsbury’s uses Finsbury for City PR and a variety of agencies for consumer PR.
Shawe joined Sainsbury’s in 2000 from Prudential where she was corporate relations director and Davis was formerly CEO (PRWeek, 1 September 2000).
Shawe has appointed headhunting firm Saxton Bampfylde Hever.