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John Lewis and Waitrose owner names new chief executive

John Lewis Partnership is in the middle of a turnaround plan  (AFP via Getty Images)
John Lewis Partnership is in the middle of a turnaround plan (AFP via Getty Images)

The parent of John Lewis and Waitrose has appointed Nish Kankiwala to lead the employee-owned business and help with its turnaround.

Kankiwala, who has been a non-executive director of the John Lewis Partnership since April 2021, will start in the newly created chief executive role on March 27.

Over the last three years chairman Sharon White has effectively been doing a dual role and also acting as chief executive, helping steer the partnership through the pandemic and cost of living crisis.

The latest hire will allow White to concentrate on wider strategies at the company, which is in the midst of a turnaround plan to boost sales, trim costs and create new revenue streams, such as building rental flats over some of its shops.

Kankiwala, a former boss of Hovis who has also has held senior roles at Burger King and PepsiCo, will run the executive team and day to day business where there are around 80,000 partners.

He said: “It’s a great privilege to be appointed as chief executive following two rewarding years on the Partnership’s Board as a non-executive director. I am looking forward to playing an even fuller part in the transformation of the Partnership, to be a modern business loved by customers and treasured by our partners.”

White said: “I’m delighted that Nish is to be chief executive. Since joining the board in 2021, Nish 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.”

The chairman added: “Nish and I will work closely to ensure the Partnership thrives for another century.”

John Lewis Partnership is due to release full-year results tomorrow.