The CEO of a major British supermarket chain has been forced into an embarrassing apology after he was caught in an "unguarded moment".

By Joe McDonough

Posted on May 2, 2018

J Sainsbury CEO Mike Coupe would certainly like this one over.

During his media rounds following the announcement of Sainsbury’s proposed $US10 billion acquisition of Walmart’s British unit Asda, Coupe was awaiting his interview with British channel ITV News.

All mic’d up and in position on set, he bizarrely began to sing “The Gold Diggers’ Song (We’re in the Money)”, which he later said he heard in the musical 42nd Street.

“We’re in the money, the sky is sunny, let’s lend it, spend it, send it rolling along,” were some of the lyrics he intoned, while unaware that the camera was rolling.

Indeed, he even stared down the lens during the poorly timed performance.

Unsurprisingly, many see the song as Coupe gloating about the money he and the company’s shareholders have already made as a result of the proposed takeover.

As CNN highlights, Coupe stood to make $606,000 from the rise in stock on Monday, going on his holdings as of May 2017.

And with the jobs, particularly of ASDA workers uncertain, Coupe has been lambasted by GMB Union.

“It’s not only crass, it’s completely unprofessional and utterly insensitive,” said general secretary Tim Roache.

“What on earth will Asda workers who are worrying about their futures think when they see this?”

The grocery goliath that the merger would create, boasting combined revenues of £51 billion, has promised to slash prices on products by up to 10%. And that is just one of the issues concerning farmers.

The National Sheep Association (NSA) is imploring the Competition and Markets Authority to reject the proposal.

“This loss of competition in the marketplace, and an increased imbalance in the supply chain, cannot be in the long term interests of food producers, nor in my mind of society at large,” said NSA CEO Phil Stocker.

“It may result in reduced prices, but all this will lead to is less realisation of the value of food and a host of things being lost that may be invisible today but will become very visible at some stage in the future.

“If we end up putting pressure on the bulk of our sheep farming families and businesses we will end up with a very different countryside and rural community – and the danger is that it won’t be noticed until it is lost.”

Coupe has since apologised for the clanger, acknowledging it was an “unfortunate choice of song”.

“This was an unguarded moment trying to compose myself before a TV interview… I apologise if I have offended anyone,” Coupe said.