John Lewis Partnership to run department stores and Waitrose supermarkets as one business
The John Lewis Partnership has announced plans to manage and operate the John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarket chain as a single business. The move means that a third of senior management roles within the partnership will be lost from next year.
The partnership said the two brands will be managed by a single executive team which will lead its business strategy and performance. The team will comprise seven new director roles with responsibilities across the partnership.
Under the new structure, there will no longer be divisional boards or separate managing directors for John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. Paula Nickolds, who is currently John Lewis & Partners managing director, will become executive director of brand and will be responsible for enhancing the partnership’s brands and developing the customer experience and future innovations. As part of this, she will lead the brand, digital, marketing and services functions across the partnership.
However, the partnership said Waitrose managing director Rob Collins has decided to step down and is expected to leave the business in January 2020.
Due to the changes, the partnership will lose around 75 senior management head office roles from the current total of 225. The changes will take effect from 3 February 2020 and are expected to lead to an overall cost saving of around £100 million over time.
Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership Sir Charlie Mayfield said: “Our current structure has served us well in the past, enabling us to develop two of the UK’s most loved and trusted brands.
“However, the lesson of the last two years is that we need more innovation, faster decision making and bolder steps to align our operating model with our strategy. This is what the ‘Future Partnership’ is all about.
“We are confident, as a board, that when the programme is complete, the partnership will be better positioned to break out from the cycle of declining returns that are affecting most established retailers. We will be a more modern and more unified business with a leadership team and cost structure that will enable the business to thrive in the long-term.”
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