John Lewis announces ex-Tesco boss as new chair

The John Lewis Partnership has appointed Jason Tarry as chair following Sharon White’s decision to step down when her term ends next year.

He joins the company from Tesco, where he was chief executive of UK and Ireland for six years.

Tarry, who has worked for the retailer for 33 years having first joined the supermarket’s graduate scheme in 1990, has experience across general merchandise, fashion, and management.

John Lewis said that because the company is at a “critical point” in its transformation, the board has decided the time commitment, term and remuneration of the chairman’s role will remain unchanged.

The company had to extend its ambitious transformation plans by two years last September after the partnership saw costs rise by £179 million,

The plans include making changes to the operating model of the company to reduce £600 million of extra costs out of the business, on top of £300 million previously cut.

The company wants to have 40 per cent of its profits to come from non-retail business – such as insurance services and its controversial rental home developments – by 2030.

Rita Clifton, deputy chairman and chair of the Nomination committee, thanked White for leading the partnership “through one of the most testing periods in its history” which included the cost-of-living crisis and Covid.

Tarry will start his new role in September, with Sharon White stepping down and supporting him during the transition.

“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,” Clifton added. “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.”

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