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John Lewis Partnership taps new CEO amid ongoing transformation

By Huw Hughes


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Image: Nish Kankiwala | Credit: John Lewis Partnership

John Lewis Partnership, which comprises department store chain John Lewis and supermarket chain Waitrose, has announced Nish Kankiwala as its new chief executive officer, effective March 27.

Kankiwala joined the partnership’s board in 2021 and has over 40 years of experience at retail and consumer brands including PepsiCo, Unilever, and Burger King. He was also previously the CEO of UK bread maker Hovis.

“It’s a great privilege to be appointed as chief executive following two rewarding years on the partnership’s board,” Kankiwala said in a statement.

He said he is “looking forward to playing an even fuller part in the transformation of the partnership”.

John Lewis Partnership chair Sharon White said Kankiwala has “developed a deep understanding and appreciation of the partnership model and has provided counsel on our transformation” since joining the board, adding he “will be able to supercharge this in his new role while protecting the partnership’s ethos”.

New CEO amid turnaround

The news comes amid a major transformation at John Lewis Partnership, which in recent years has announced thousands of job cuts and the streamlining of its store estate as it looks to turn a profit.

Amid signs of recovery, the company has also more recently been hit by the cost-of-living crisis as consumers cut back on discretionary spending.

In its most recently published half-year results, for the six months to July 30 2022, the retailer swung to a loss before tax and exceptional items of 92 million pounds compared to a profit of 69 million pounds a year earlier.

The partnership is due to report its annual results on Thursday.

White continued: “Nish and I will work closely to ensure the partnership thrives for another century.

“The new structure allows me to focus on the preservation of the partnership model and our distinctive character, on the strategy for the partnership and our big commercial choices. Nish will draw on his significant transformation experience to drive performance and profitability day to day.”

John Lewis
John Lewis Partnership