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John Lewis Partnership appoints Jason Tarry as chairman

Tarry is expected to take up the role in September, at which point White will step down and support the transition as required

The John Lewis Partnership has announced it has appointed ex-Tesco UK boss Jason Tarry as its seventh chairman following Sharon White’s decision to step down at the end of her term.

Tarry brings over 33 years of experience at Tesco where he was most recently the UK and Ireland CEO, a role he held for six years. His experience spans grocery, general merchandise and fashion in senior commercial, operational and general management positions, having joined the Tesco graduate programme in 1990.

In addition to delivering market leading grocery performance in the UK, he led the expansion of F&F Clothing across Europe as group CEO.

Tarry is expected to take up the role in September, at which point White will step down and support the transition as required.

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Rita Clifton, deputy chairman and chair of the Nomination Committee, said: “The board extends its huge thanks to Sharon for successfully leading the Partnership through one of the most testing periods in its history – first Covid and then the cost of living crisis.

“She has faced into the toughest decisions and overseen the Partnership’s financial recovery; we are in good financial health with a return to profit, and have a strong balance sheet with record investment planned this year. Sharon has also helped ensure that employee ownership of the Partnership is secure, is demonstrably focused on its purpose as a force for good and with an open and inclusive culture.”

She added: “As the Partnership moves into the next phase of its modernisation focused on our core retail business as well future growth, we are confident that Jason will provide the kind of inspirational leadership, a proven track record in multi-channel, multi-category retail success and a strong identification with Partnership values that we are seeking in this role. Jason has impressed everyone throughout the interview process with his warmth, his belief in the Partnership’s ideals and democratic principles and his appreciation for our unique and special brands.”

White said: “I’m delighted to be handing over to Jason, who has a combination of fantastic retail experience with leadership through transformation. From my many conversations with Jason, he has demonstrated a clear appreciation for the partnership model and champions it. I look forward to welcoming him to the Partnership in September and carrying out a smooth handover.

“I also want to thank Partners for their commitment and hard work; it’s been a huge privilege to be chairman and I’m proud of what everyone has achieved. We’ve built the foundations for a stronger Partnership and I’m confident that Jason will take it from strength to strength.”

Tarry concluded: “The Partnership and its brands stand for trust, value, quality and service and it’s a great privilege to be succeeding Sharon as the seventh chairman. The Partnership is unique and I’ve long been an admirer of the employee-ownership model, its values and partner-led customer service. This starts with a sharp focus on being brilliant retailers for customers and investing in growth. I’m looking forward to working with the board, Nish and the executive team to deliver its clear strategy.”

The John Lewis board also revealed it decided that, at this “critical point” in the Partnership’s transformation, the time commitment, term and remuneration of the chairman’s role will remain unchanged.

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