Apr 4, 2023
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John lewis CEO tells staff business model needs fast reform

Apr 4, 2023

John Lewis Partnership won’t be hanging around in its bid to reform the UK retailer’s business model. New CEO Nish Kankiwala, appointed last month, has told staff that transformations will we be undertaken quickly, without giving details.

John Lewis

Kankiwala said: “The way the Partnership did business would have to change to make it more efficient and affordable, and that action would have to come at pace”, according comments he gave to the retailer’s internal magazine The Gazette., seen by the FT.

He was appointed to the newly created post of chief executive by chairman Sharon White, to help the retailer “thrive for another century”.

At the time of his appointment, White said Kankiwala “will draw on his significant transformation experience to drive performance and profitability day to day”.

The former Hovis chief executive’s comments come days after the partnership, which includes Waitrose, pushed back against reports that it was exploring a controversial partial demutualisation in an attempt to raise between £1 billion and £2 billion of new investment.

However, the sale of even a minority stake would require a change to the John Lewis Partnership constitution, which would have to be voted on by its partnership council.

The business is saddled with debts of £1.7 billion and faces increasing competition from M&S and Next on the high street as well as a host of online rivals.

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