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Sharon White hands over John Lewis Partnership to former Tesco CEO

Chloe Burney
08 April 2024

The John Lewis Partnership has today announced the appointment of Jason Tarry as its seventh Chairman, taking over from Dame Sharon White who will be stepping down at the end of her tenure. 

Tarry brings over 33 years of experience at Tesco, where he was most recently CEO in the UK and Ireland for six years. His extensive experience spans grocery, general merchandise, and fashion. He first joined the supermarket chain as part of its graduate programme in 1990, later climbing up the ranks to hold senior commercial, operational and general management positions.

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

Jason Tarry, newly appointed Chairman, said: "The John Lewis 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."

Tarry will step into the role this September, at which point Dame Sharon White will step down (she had initially been expected to leave in early 2025) and support the transition as required. From then on, he will work closely with Nish Kankiwala, the partnership’s CEO, promising to bring much-needed retail expertise to the head of the partnership.

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 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.

"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."

Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, added: "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."

The arrival of Tarry follows the appointment of Peter Ruis to head up the department store side of the business as Executive Director. The move marked something of a homecoming for Ruis, who previously spent nine years with the department store from 2005 to 2013 as its buying and brand director.

He left John Lewis to take up the CEO role at Jigsaw, from where he went to head up Anthropologie’s international drive as MD. Most recently, he was CEO at Indigo plc in Canada.

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