The peer received 2,893 of the 5,558 votes cast in the election, which took place across two days on 14 and 15 October, with his nearest rival, actor Brian Blessed, getting 1,389 votes.
Lord Sainsbury, who was the university’s official nomination for the post, had unexpectedly ended up in a race with three other candidates after Mr Blessed, local shopkeeper Abdul Arain and lawyer Michael Mansfield secured enough support to put their names forward.
The need for a new chancellor was prompted by the decision of the Duke of Edinburgh, who had been in the role since 1977, to step down.
Lord Sainsbury said he was honoured to have been elected and added that he was “particularly pleased” that the election “did not turn into a battle between the arts and humanities and science, or between political parties”.
“I look forward to championing the university in its entirety at home and abroad in the years ahead,” he said.
By securing more than half the votes in the election, which was open to any master’s graduate of the university as well as members of staff, Lord Sainsbury avoided a second round of counting.
Mr Mansfield received 964 votes while Mr Arain, who was put forward after voicing concerns about the building of a new Sainsbury’s supermarket branch near his shop, received 312 votes.