High Street

John Lewis announces wave of senior job cuts

The John Lewis Partnership has announced a wave of senior job cuts as part of a new plan that will see both John Lewis and Waitrose managed and operated as a single business.

It is anticipated that there will be a reduction of around 75 senior management head office roles from the current total of 225.

The retailer said as part of its plan both brands will “continue to serve customers online and in its shops”, but will now be managed by a single executive team responsible for the partnership’s business strategy and performance.

Led by the chairman, the executive team will comprise seven new director roles with responsibilities across the whole of the partnership, and there will no longer be divisional boards or separate managing directors for John Lewis and Partners and Waitrose and Partners.

It also intends to create a smaller partnership board, which will include the chairman, the executive director of finance, three elected directors and a minimum of two non-executive directors, including the deputy chairman.

John Lewis said it predicts that these changes within the structure of the business will “ultimately” lead to an overall cost saving of c.£100m over time.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “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 decision making and bolder steps to align our operating model with our strategy. This is what the ‘Future Partnership’ is all about.”

He added: “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.”

It comes as Rob Collins, managing director of Waitrose and Partners, also announced plans to step down from the role next year after a career of nearly 26 years.

He said: “I have been closely involved in the planning of the ‘Future Partnership’ programme and I’m very confident that the new structure is the right one for the future.

“I am certain it will enable the business to continue its long history of successfully adapting to changing times. There isn’t a role in the new structure that I believe is right for me personally, and so I have decided to leave at the end of January.”

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