Home Business John Lewis names former Tesco UK boss as new head

John Lewis names former Tesco UK boss as new head

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John Lewis has said the former boss of Tesco's UK business, Jason Tarry, will become its next chairman.
Mr Tarry will start in September, taking over from Dame Sharon White who said last year that she would be standing down at the end of her term.
The partnership, which includes the John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets, has come under increasing pressure in recent years.
It has closed stores and cut jobs, but recently announced a return to profit.
Mr Tarry, who will become only the seventh chairman of John Lewis, said it was a "great privilege" to lead the company.
Dame Sharon was the first woman to lead John Lewis, but when she announced in October that she would step down after five years in the role, it made her the shortest-serving boss in the partnership's near 100-year history.
Her predecessors had each served between 13 and 26 years.
Dame Sharon's appointment made her one of the few black women leading a major UK business. However, she faced controversy after considering breaking the historic employee-owned structure of the partnership, and she was also criticised by some for her lack of retail experience.
But in an interview with the BBC in June last year, Dame Sharon defended her background, noting that some of her predecessors at John Lewis had also come from outside the retail sector.
Rita Clifton, deputy chairman and chair of John Lewis's nomination committee, said: "The board extends its huge thanks to Sharon for successfully leading the partnership through one of the most testing periods in its history – first Covid and then the cost-of-living crisis.
"She has faced the toughest decisions and overseen the partnership's financial recovery; we are in good financial health with a return to profit, and have a strong balance sheet with record investment planned this year."
Last month, John Lewis reported full-year profits of £56m compared with a £234m loss the year before.
Despite this, the partnership said it would not be paying a staff bonus for the second year in a row, which is only the third time it has not paid out such an award since 1953.
Dame Sharon said: "I'm delighted to be handing over to Jason, who has a combination of fantastic retail experience with leadership through transformation."
Mr Tarry had worked at Tesco for more than 33 years, with his most recent role being chief executive of the supermarket's UK and Ireland business.
"The partnership and its brands stand for trust, value, quality and service and it's a great privilege to be succeeding Sharon as the seventh chairman," Mr Tarry said.
Zoe Mills, retail analyst at GlobalData, said Mr Tarry "certainly has the experience and knowhow to rejuvenate the John Lewis Partnership".
However, she added that he would face a different challenge to that faced at Tesco, "with Marks & Spencer, rather than the discounters, a clear threat to John Lewis's long-term success".
M&S is forecast to continue growing its share of clothing and footwear over the next few years, Ms Mills said, while it has also been growing its grocery sales, with Waitrose perceived to be losing out in the battle for premium food.
"Within Waitrose & Partners, Tarry must not lose sight of its more premium proposition," Ms Mills said.
"While remaining price-competitive will be crucial, as within general merchandise, the focus must be on quality and justifying higher price points to entice shoppers to trade up."
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