McCarthy has more than 30 years' retail experience, having previously worked for Next and as managing director of the retail estate of the Birmingham Post and Mail. However, he came to prominence in the convenience sector as chief executive of T&S Stores.
During his tenure he was responsible for turning T&S from a small regional group to the UK's biggest convenience store chain. T&S was then bought by Tesco in 2003. Following the sale, McCarthy joined Sainsbury's in June 2004 with responsibility for convenience stores.
He will leave Sainsbury's in September.