The John Lewis Partnership has announced plans to integrate the management teams behind John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners, stating that the move will enable the "faster delivery of better products and services" for its customers.
The plan, which the retailer calls Future Partnership, will entail: organising and managing the partnership as a single business, not two separate business units; creating new senior roles with responsibilities that span both brands; and creating a smaller partnership board.
It anticipates a reduction of around 75 senior management head office roles from the current total of 225, helping achieve cost savings of around £100m "over time".
Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, Sir Charlie Mayfield, says: “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 decisionmaking and bolder steps to align our operating model with our strategy. This is what the Future Partnership is all about.
"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.”
Led by Charlie, the executive team will comprise seven new director roles with responsibilities across the partnership. Among the new roles created, Paula Nickolds, currently MD of John Lewis & Partners, will become executive director, brand, responsible for the continued enhancement of the partnership’s brands and leading the development of customer experience and innovations, leading brand, digital, marketing and services.
Rob Collins will step down as MD of Waitrose & Partners in January.
These changes will come into effect from 3rd February 2020.