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HomeBusinessJohn Lewis Boss Dame Sharon White to Resign After Five Years

John Lewis Boss Dame Sharon White to Resign After Five Years

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John Lewis Boss Dame Sharon White to Resign After Five Years Sharon White steps down as John Lewis chair, shortest tenure in a century.

Dame Sharon’s five-year tenure is set to expire in February 2025. She has informed the board that she will not run for re-election.

Last year, the partnership lost £234 million, prompting it to cancel the annual staff bonus.

She stated that the chain was “making progress” in its change, but that there was still a “long road ahead.”

Chair Succession

Her five-year term as chair will be the shortest in the history of John Lewis. Her predecessors ranged in age from 13 to 26 years.

Dame Sharon, the first woman to run John Lewis, sparked outrage when she proposed violating the partnership’s unique employee-owned structure, which also controls Waitrose, by selling a stake to outside investors to earn money to invest in the partnership.

That strategy was subsequently abandoned.

“Having led the Partnership through the pandemic and the worst of the cost of living crisis, it is important that there is now a smooth and orderly succession process and handover,” Sharon added.

Her successor is expected to be named by the board next year.

Waitrose was recently rumored to be considering selling a handful of locations and leasing them back to raise cash.

John Lewis Challenges

The partnership revealed two weeks ago that losses for the first six months of the year had been reduced to £59 million.

John Lewis stated at the time that its aim to return to “sustainable” profit would take two years longer than envisaged due to increased operational costs and larger-than-estimated investment requirements.

The company also stated that its modernization efforts would “take precedence” over the employee bonus.

When John Lewis said in March that it would not pay a staff bonus after a “very tough” 2022, it was only the second time the scheme had failed.

In recent years, the department store has faced intense competition on the High Street, leading to several outlet closures, while its supermarket subsidiary Waitrose has also underperformed.

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