John Lewis Partnership has confirmed the worst kept secret in the retail sector by merging the management teams of John Lewis and Waitrose, including the marketing function, in a move which will see one in three senior head office posts scrapped as part of a £100m cost-cutting exercise.
The move, first revealed last week, sees the creation of an executive team of seven new director roles, led by chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield. It has been reported that 75 out of 225 top jobs will be axed, as the group reels from its first ever half-year loss.
These include the roles of Waitrose managing director Rob Collins and John Lewis MD Paula Nickolds. However, Nickolds has been handed the job of executive director of brand, heading up marketing, service and digital innovation across the group.
The future of John Lewis customer director Craig Inglis and his Waitrose counterpart, Martin George, has yet to be decided, with both in consultation.
It is understood that a single marketing director role will be created, although the exact make-up of the new team is also up in the air.
The marketing departments of John Lewis and Waitrose started working closer together last year, and launched the first ever joint national marketing campaign; the single biggest ever push for both brands outside of Christmas.
At the same time, they launched a new joint loyalty card, which brought together the MyJohnLewis and MyWaitrose schemes.
In the new line-up, operations across both brands will be headed by Andrew Murphy, currently director of IT and transformation for the group, and Patrick Lewis will continue as finance director. Bérangère Michel will lead customer service and Tracey Killen will run people management while two new directors – for trading and strategy – have yet to be placed.
Mayfield said: “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.”
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