The employee-owned John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has announced that Paula Nickolds will be appointed managing director, John Lewis, effective from January.
She is the first female managing director in the organisation’s 152 year history and is replacing Andy Street, who is stepping down to run as Conservative candidate for Mayor of the West Midlands.
As with all previous John Lewis managing directors, Ms Nickolds has been appointed from within the organisation. She joined JLP in 1994 as a graduate trainee in John Lewis Oxford Street, and held a number of senior buying and product development roles before joining the John Lewis management board as buying and brand director in 2013, where she had responsibility for the organisation’s Christmas advert.
“As a partner with 22 years service, I know just how special the John Lewis Partnership is,” she said. “Driven by our unique business model, and with innovation in our DNA, I am immensely excited to lead John Lewis on the next stage of our journey.”
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Sir Charlie Mayfield, chair of the John Lewis Partnership, added: “At a time of transformation in the retail sector, Paula’s progressive and dynamic leadership is just what’s needed for the next phase of modern retailing.”
JLP operates 48 John Lewis shops across the UK, 350 Waitrose shops, johnlewis.com, waitrose.com and business to business contracts in the UK and abroad. According to the Co-operatives UK 2016 Co-operative Economy report, the organisation is the UK’s largest co-operative, with a turnover of £9.8bn (to January 2016). All 88,900 staff are Partners in the business.
“Employee owned businesses make an important contribution to UK plc,” said Jane Burgess, partners’ counsellor, John Lewis Partnership, in the report.
“Evidence shows that they are more resilient, have higher productivity and greater levels of transparency than conventionally owned businesses. As I know from first-hand experience, this is underpinned by very high levels of engagement, with co-owners typically having more autonomy and responsibility over their working lives.”