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John Lewis names non-exec Nish Kankiwala to new CEO role

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It’s a big news week for John Lewis with its results due Thursday and a new concept store layout unveiled Tuesday. And Wednesday? Just the small matter of a new CEO.

Nish Kankiwala

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, has announced Nish Kankiwala as the Partnership’s Chief Executive.

He’s been a non-executive director of the business that owns John Lewis and Waitrose since April 2021. And while department stores are very important to the firm, this appointment looks most relevant to Waitrose as he’s a former Chief Executive of bread giant Hovis and has held senior roles at Burger King and PepsiCo. 

It will therefore be interesting to see how he helps shape the future of the fashion/beauty, home and tech-focused department stores.

He takes up his new role on 27 March, although the company said that the “Chairman will, as now, be fully accountable for all aspects of the Partnership’s performance, purpose and approach to pursuing a better way of doing business”.

Under the new structure, the Partnership’s Executive Directors will report to the CEO while he’ll report to the Chairman. 

Sharon White said that since joining the board, the new CEO “has developed a deep understanding and appreciation of the Partnership model and has provided counsel on our transformation. He will be able to supercharge this in his new role while protecting the Partnership’s ethos. 

“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.”

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