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John Lewis chair Sharon White wins confidence vote

The John Lewis Partnership chair Dame Sharon White has maintained that the partnership will always remain employee owned, “no ifs or buts” as staff backed her… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE NEWS

John Lewis chair Sharon White wins confidence vote

The John Lewis Partnership chair Dame Sharon White has maintained that the partnership will always remain employee owned, “no ifs or buts” as staff backed her to continue in her role.

The news follows reports earlier this year that the partnership was considering diluting its employee ownership structure as it looked to inject new capital into its department store and supermarket chains.

White’s leadership was tested yesterday when the 60-strong partnership council held two non-binding votes on whether they had confidence in her decisions over the past year and also in her leadership moving forward. While the partners did not support last year’s performance, White did secure a majority in the second vote.

Held at an all day meeting of the council, the votes cast were part of the partnership’s bi-annual vote on its performance and leadership.

In the year to January, the John Lewis Partnership plunged to a £234 million pre-tax loss and did not pay its staff a bonus for the second time in three years.

In a statement following the meeting, Chris Earnshaw, president of the partnership council, said: “Every half year, the chairman attends our partnership council to give an update and discuss with councillors the progress of the partnership. This is central to how we exercise our democratic principles and ownership of the business.

“The council voted in support of the chairman to progress the partnership in relation to its purpose, principles and rules. The council did not support last year’s performance, in which we reported a full year loss and no partner bonus.

“The council, chairman and board will continue to work together to ensure the long-term success of the partnership and our employee-owned model.”

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