John Lewis changes senior management roles and puts productivity front and centre

John Lewis can seemingly do no wrong, with the company held in high esteem among consumers and businesses alike. It’s outshone Marks & Spencer and Apple as the most desired brand for jobseekers, while boasts the finest corporate reputation too.

The firm is also keen to keep its employees satisfied too, considering staff members to be “partners” that are entitled to benefits, including “the profit share via the John Lewis Partnership bonus, which this year amounted to six weeks pay for every partner”.

To stay on this track, John Lewis has revealed changes to the senior management team, the most notable of which has seen a new productivity role created. Retail director of the business for five years, Andrew Murphy is set to take on the post of group productivity director.

The move comes following the government’s big push to improve the country’s productivity with initiatives that will include a £100bn transport investment.

“Productivity isn’t just some obscure measure, of interest only to economists. It matters to each and every one of us. If we could match USA for productivity, it would boost our GDP by 31 per cent – that’s equivalent to £21,000 a year for every household in the UK,” said business minister Sajid Javid.

In his new role, Murphy will work closely with the chairman’s committee and the partnership board to develop and integrate plans that can improve productivity and, as a result, the firm’s financial strategy and organisation structure.

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Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “The rapid rate of change in retail is set to continue and therefore the time is right for us to develop the thinking that will help sustain the partnership in the next generation and I am delighted that Andrew has agreed to take up this new role.

“His appointment is part of the plans we are putting in place to deliver the Partnership’s strategy in the next five years and follows the announcement of Tom Athron’s appointment as Group Development Director in June 2015.”

Elsewhere, online director Mark Lewis will fill the void left by Murphy as the new retail director, while operations director Dino Rocos will take on extra duties to support omnichannel customer shopping trends in a world where consumers flit between stores, PCs and mobiles.

Buying and brand director Paula Nickolds, who joined as a graduate trainee in 1994, will become commercial director and lead new store formats, while marketing director Craig Inglis will be the new customer director and manage the end-to-end experience.

“These important changes to the John Lewis Management Board place the customer at the heart of our decision making. The new John Lewis Board composition will ensure we continue to lead omnichannel retailing in the UK,” added Andy Street, MD, John Lewis.

In related news, John Lewis plans to take on an additional 3,000 members of staff as temporary partners over the Christmas period to support retail and distribution. Some 44 branches are currently taking people on in areas including the Christmas department, electrical and home technology, and food and catering.

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