John Lewis to reduce leadership team by a third

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John Lewis Partnership is to consolidate its executive leadership team from 225 to around 150 as it restructures to manage its John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets as one single business.

The changes will be implemented in February and will include the departure of Rob Collins, managing director of Waitrose, who has been with the group for 26 years.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, 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. In the last three years we have delivered significant innovation and driven efficiency, maintaining market leading service standards and growing customer numbers.

“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.”

All aspects of the “Future Partnership” plan are expected to lead to cost savings of around £100m. Last month, the retailer reported a half-year loss – the first in its history – of £26m.

The restructure will result in a smaller executive board, which will include Tracey Killen, executive director for people.

Sir Charlie added: “Although there will be little or no disruption to our shops or websites in the near term, there will be considerable change in many other areas of the Partnership as we bring the two businesses much closer together. These are necessary and these changes will be difficult for some of our partners and we will implement as carefully and sensitively as we can.

“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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