Sir Char­lie May­field to step down as John Lewis chair­man

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Front Page - Ash­ley Arm­strong

THE John Lewis Part­ner­ship has sig­nalled the end of an era with Sir Char­lie May­field an­nounc­ing he will step down as chair­man in 2020, af­ter al­most two decades with the re­tailer.

The part­ner­ship, which in­cludes Waitrose and John Lewis, has come un­der in­tense pres­sure from the tor­rid re­tail cli­mate, and the an­nounce­ment comes two months af­ter it re­vealed its prof­its had been wiped out by hav­ing to price-match ri­vals’ dis­count­ing.

Last year Sir Char­lie re­ceived a £1.4m pay pack­age af­ter waiv­ing his bonus for the last two years while re­quest­ing for his ba­sic pay to re­main static. John Lewis shop em­ploy­ees saw their bonus cut to the low­est level in 64 years, equiv­a­lent to 5pc of an­nual pay fol­low­ing a “chal­leng­ing” year.

“Although my de­par­ture is still a con­sid­er­able way off, the ap­point­ment of my suc­ces­sor is a key re­spon­si­bil­ity,” said Sir Char­lie. “It is for this rea­son I have de­cided to lay out the timetable now to en­able an open and thor­ough process to se­lect the next chair­man of the part­ner­ship.”

The part­ner­ship said that its nom­i­na­tions com­mit­tee would con­sider both in­ter­nal and ex­ter­nal can­di­dates and an­nounce the new chair­man in the sec­ond half of 2019.

JLP re­branded its chains “John Lewis & Part­ners” and “Waitrose & Part­ners” in Septem­ber in an at­tempt to em­pha­sise the fact it is an em­ployee-owned busi­ness, an un­usual fact that has won it huge po­lit­i­cal sup­port.

Sir Char­lie be­came the part­ner­ship’s fifth chair­man in March 2007 af­ter join­ing the re­tailer in 2000 as head of busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

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