John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners have announced they will operate as a single business, which will result in one-third of senior management head office roles being axed.
As a result of the creation of the new cross-partnership roles and the greater integration of the two brands, around 75 roles from the current total of 225 senior management positions will be cut at the partnership. The changes will take effect from 3 February 2020.
The plan, called “Future Partnership”, will “enable a faster delivery of better products and services for customers” and is expected to lead to an overall cost saving of around £100m over time. John Lewis Partnership said the main elements of the future partnership plan are to organise and manage the partnership as a single business – not as two separate business units. The two brands will continue to serve customers online and in store, but they will now be managed by a single executive team responsible for the partnership’s business strategy and performance.
Led by the chairman designate, Sharon White, the executive team will comprise seven new director roles with responsibilities across the whole of the partnership. There will no longer be divisional boards or separate managing directors for John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.
It will create new senior roles with responsibilities that span both brands. Among the new roles created, Paula Nickolds, currently managing director of John Lewis & Partners, will become executive director, brand, responsible for the continued enhancement of the partnership’s brands and leading the development of customer experience and future innovations. She will lead brand, digital, marketing and services across the John Lewis Partnership.
Rob Collins will step down as managing director of Waitrose & Partners next year.
The new executive team from 3 February will be: White, chairman; Nickolds, executive director of brand; Patrick Lewis, executive director of finance; Tracey Killen, executive director of people; Andrew Murphy, executive director of operations and Bérangère Michel, executive director of customer service. The company is yet to appoint trading and strategy executive directors.
The plan also results in a smaller partnership board, which comprises the chairman, executive director, finance, three elected directors and a minimum of two non-executive directors, including the deputy chairman.
White said: “I am passionate about working together as one Partnership. There is huge potential to unlock from partners working across our two great brands, providing brilliant service to the many customers who shop at both Waitrose & Partners and John Lewis & Partners.”