John Lewis hires new exec to bolster “Future Partnership” team

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John Lewis Partnership Nina Bhatia Future Partnership Sharon White
Nina Bhatia will join office on February 17 and will report directly to chairman Sharon White
// John Lewis Partnership welcomes new executive director of strategy & commercial development
// Nina Bhatia was formerly the managing director of Hive – a connected home business

John Lewis Partnership has appointed Nina Bhatia as the executive director of strategy and commercial development, as part of the newly formed Future Partnership executive team.

She will join office on February 17 and will report directly to chair Sharon White.

Bhatia was formerly the managing director of Hive – a connected home business – before serving as a partner at McKinsey & Co.


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“I am delighted to be joining the partnership. The business’s purpose and its two incredibly strong brands resonate strongly with me,” Bhatia said.

“Working with partners across the business, I look forward to developing a strategy for the partnership that is relevant to our customers, is built on trust and delivers commercial value.”

White said: “Nina brings tremendous commercial and strategic experience and will play a crucial role as part of the newly formed Future Partnership executive team.”

White was the chief executive of Ofcom for five years before joining John Lewis Partnership this week – at a time when the business has seen a growing list of senior management departures.

John Lewis’ customer director Craig Inglis became the latest exec to announce his resignation, less than a month after John Lewis managing director Paula Nickolds revealed she would also be leaving the department store chain after 25 years in the business.

Nickolds’ surprise departure came in the wake of a tough Christmas. While like-for-like sales at Waitrose by 0.4 per cent, John Lewis’ sales dropped by two per cent.

Meanwhile, Rob Collins – managing director of stablemate Waitrose – announced his resignation back in October.

The partnership is facing one of the most challenging periods in its 90-year history, and last week it released its last ever weekly update as part of a restructuring plan that will see sales and profits combine for John Lewis and its stablemate Waitrose.

Moreover, White gave her maiden speech as chair at a meeting of the employee-owned group’s council, held at one of its staff retreats, the Odney Club in Berkshire on Tuesday.

Outgoing chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield also spoke at the event which was attended by around 200 staff.

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8 COMMENTS

  1. More diversity at the top of business but will that make a difference in the Partnership culture and turn the declining sales and profit figures around? Only time will tell…

  2. Not quite the sort of ‘Diversity’ to celebrate – this is not a case of an Asian person working her way up through retail, gaining experience and being rewarded with a well-deserved promotion…
    … Nina Bhatia fell out of Cambridge with a law degree and straight into the rather ‘opaque’ McKinsey organisation where she stayed for 22 years.
    Given that Sharon White has zero retail experience either (and managed to be appointed a Non-Executive Director of Barratt Developments recently), it will be interesting to see what both actually manage to bring to the business.
    As it is, the outgoing regime’s ill-informed decisions regarding credit card business transfer, call centre re-organisation etc. etc. have all proved problematic and damaged JLPs reputation.
    Certain establishment people out there don’t like the idea of JLP and its ‘Partner’ ethos of worker-ownership – and would be happy to see it fail.

  3. As a customer, I wish John Lewis the success it deserves. I hope the newly appointed will also take into account the Partners, they also are responsible for the success of John Lewis and Partners over the years. Lovely hard working people who are at the front of customer connection.

  4. I worked for the partnership for 21 years. I must say that they waste so much money on the so called section managers in each department. Whilst I was there they had a grand total of 14 in the catering department.

  5. What are they thinking. There is simply no retail experience or expertise at the top of the JLP organisation. What a car crash.

  6. WHAT THEY NEED TO DO IS SORT OUT THERE CUSTOMER SERVICES. THE KEEP YOU WAITING ON THE PHONE FOR AGES THEN PASS YOU TO SEVER OTHERS THERE RUDE COULDENT CAR LESS ATTUDE. THEY NEED TO BE TRAINED. THEY ARE LOOSING CUSTOMERS

  7. I worked for the Partnership for 15 years and had they listened to the shopfloor partners they would be in a better place than they are. The partnership wasted thousands of pounds on so called Partner Development plans and objectives which had no real feeling for the individual.

  8. Customer services and systems need an overhaul. Fabric samples used to come direct, in view of data protection, that system changed. No trace. My business went elsewhere. Just a couple of hundred pounds on my sale, but one of many errors that add up to thousands. Promotions on software when buying laptops should surely show under the laptops??
    3 bent poles sent. Finally got it right on the 4th! Need better courier support, or something wrong in despatch.
    Lack of training for staff. Skills & knowledge need updating.
    Some Staff look they’re on a night out not dressed for work. Create a poor impression.
    Changing rooms in fashion department closed during a clearance weekend.
    A bed and mattress turning up on different days – poor co-ordination.
    Returning phone calls in the 4hr time are non existent.
    New management need to listen to staff at the forefront of the business, serving the customers.

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