John Lewis Partnership hires Pippa Wicks as John Lewis executive director

John Lewis Partnership hires Pippa Wicks as John Lewis Executive Director
Pippa Wicks has been appointed executive director at John Lewis.
// Pippa Wicks named new John Lewis executive director
// She joins from the Co-op, where she was deputy CEO, and replaces Paula Nickolds who exited in January
// Wicks’ appointment forms part of a seven-strong executive team for the John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership has announced the appointment of Pippa Wicks as executive director for John Lewis.

Wicks joins from the Co-op Group where she was deputy chief executive and will start her new role at the department store chain in August.

Wicks will be tasked with taking care of John Lewis’ trading, merchandising, marketing and developing propositions and services in a post-coronavirus lockdown trading environment.


Wicks fills the vacancy left behind by Paula Nickolds, who exited in January with a near-£1 million payout after John Lewis recorded lacklustre Christmas sales.

Nickolds had worked for the business for 25 years in various roles before her departure, and was the first female managing director of the department store in its 156-year history.

Wicks’ appointment forms part of a seven-strong executive team and follows James Bailey joining as executive director of stablemate Waitrose in April.

Simon Coble will also continue in his role as John Lewis trading director, reporting to Wicks.

Meanwhile Wicks – along with Bailey – will both report to John Lewis Partnership chair Sharon White.

“I am delighted to welcome Pippa to the partnership,” White said.

“She brings a wealth of experience of leading and developing businesses that deliver brilliant products and services to customers, both online and in stores.

“Pippa has an exceptional track record, including at the Co-op Group which, as a membership organisation, shares similar values to te partnership in terms of the commitment to the communities we serve.”

“John Lewis and Waitrose are two of the most loved brands in the UK, and the partnership the largest social enterprise.

“As we emerge from the pandemic there is tremendous opportunity for John Lewis to play an even bigger role in people’s lives. I am confident that under Pippa’s leadership the brand will continue to thrive.”

Wicks said: “I feel extremely privileged to be joining the John Lewis Partnership at such an important time in its history.

“As executive director responsible for the John Lewis business I look forward to working closely with partners to steer through these extraordinary times in society and in retail.

“As the biggest employee-owned business in the UK and one of the biggest in the world there is an opportunity to provide both exceptional service for customers as well as really meaningful work for partners.”

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  1. A very interesting appointment. Her experience in turnaround and re-structuring at
    Alix Partners, hints that more changes are due. Worth re-looking at the range of her
    stated job function, where is the necessary “merchant” background?

  2. Pippa has great experience and an obvious skill set for the remit of her new role. One of the leadership strengths of Ms White is known to be her ability to choose her people well.

    I do think the whole team lacks department store experience and this is worrying. I am more worried, though, about the strategy that will play out under Ms White. She will likely have developed a vision for the ‘John Lewis Partnership’ of the future. I would not expect her to be less than radical!

    Ms White’s vision will likely owe much to her admirable experience in the pursuit of diversity, equality and community. The Partnership and the Co-op are the obvious link with communities. It would be an expected extension to include diversity and equality issues in a new vision for the Partnership.

    The new vision of the John Lewis Partnership ‘brand ethos’ itself will no doubt incorporate the social change issues that Ms White can focus so clearly through her leadership.

    But the future of John Lewis will depend on the commercial success that a program of change can achieve for ‘department stores’. A strategy for this alongside Ms White’s vision could produce an unrivaled department store group of the future.

  3. I went into a john lewis store today and the lights was off it was horrible to see it look like it was closing down in some parts and mac really did look shut. No one had a smile in store or said hello, this is not good john lewis put on your lights or they will go off for good


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