Daily Mail

Troubled John Lewis hires its first-ever chief executive

- By Emily Hawkins

THE John Lewis Partnershi­p has appointed a chief executive for the first time as chairman Sharon White battles to turn the 95-year-old retail giant around.

Nish Kankiwala ( pictured), 65, the former boss of Hovis, has been promoted to the job at the company, which owns the John Lewis department store chain and Waitrose supermarke­ts.

The appointmen­t comes just days after White, 55, said she has found it ‘quite hard to recruit men’ and faced a backlash for hiring and promoting women. Speaking at an event for Internatio­nal Women’s day, she said she had received complaints for trying to ‘ rebalance’ the retailer away from its masculine ‘command and control’ culture.

White is seeking to revive the fortunes of the John Lewis Partnershi­p after two years of losses. The company made £146m profit in 201920 but lost £517m in 2020-21 and £26m in 2021- 22. Another loss for 2022-23 is feared when it reports annual results today.

White shut 16 loss-making stores during the pandemic but continues to face rising costs.

It has already reported losses of £99m for the six months to the end of July.

Kankiwala has been hired after a two-year stint as a non-executive director, as well as senior jobs at Burger King and Pepsi.

White will now ‘ be fully accountabl­e’ for the partnershi­p model and its ‘big commercial choices’. The new chief executive would ‘draw on his significan­t transforma­tion experience to drive performanc­e and profitabil­ity day to day’, she added.

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