John Lewis names former Tesco UK boss as next chair of group

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The former boss of Tesco in the UK and Ireland is to replace Sharon White as the chair of the group that owns John Lewis and Waitrose as it turns to an experienced retailer to lead the next phase of its turnaround.

Jason Tarry is poised to take up the role in September when White will step down several months before the end of her term.

He spent 33 years at Tesco, having joined its graduate programme in 1990. He was head of its UK and Irish business for six years with experience in grocery, general merchandise and fashion and general management positions.

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The John Lewis Partnership (JLP) has been searching for a new chair since White announced she would not seek a second term when her five-year stint is up. Other potential candidates are thought to have included the former Sainsbury’s boss Justin King and departing Marks & Spencer boss Katie Bickerstaffe.

Former Ofcom boss White, who had never worked in retail before joining JLP has shepherded the company back into profit but been criticised for too much focus on non-retail projects, including building homes to rent and expanding financial services, while the group’s main business has suffered.

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.”

Tarry said: “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 chair. 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.”


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