Waitrose veteran joins Fortnum & Mason as chief commercial officer

Fortnum & Mason Rupert Thomas Waitrose John Lewis Partnership Lucy Williams
Rupert Thomas left Waitrose after 17 years in January
// Fortnum & Mason hires ex-Waitrose food and grocery director as chief commercial officer
// Rupert Thomas will lead the buying, merchandising and international teams
// Thomas will replace Lucy Williams in his new role

Fortnum & Mason has hired former Waitrose food and grocery director Rupert Thomas as its new chief commercial officer.

Thomas will lead the buying, merchandising and international teams at the Queen’s grocer from April.

He left the upmarket grocer after 17 years in January, and will replace Lucy Williams in his new role.


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Williams, who has been with Fortnum & Mason for four years, will leave in April after a short handover.

In joining Fortnum’s Thomas is following in the footsteps of former Waitrose chief financial officer Tom Athron, who took over from Ewan Venters as Fortnum & Mason chief executive last December.

“My priority is to set our business up for the next major leg in its extraordinary growth trajectory,” Athron said.

“To do this, we need to create customer propositions that sing across all our channels – and bring our teams together to fuel innovation and new ways of working.

“Rupert is a wonderful fit with this ambition: a highly experienced and inspirational business leader, he has a great track record of driving growth that is underpinned by a passion for premium brands, bold innovation, and an ability to create unique customer experiences”.

Thomas added: “I’m hugely excited to be joining the Fortnum & Mason family. An iconic British brand, it continues to distinguish itself around the globe with outstanding quality products and exceptional levels of service.

“It is going to be an important year for the retail and hospitality sectors, and I’m relishing the opportunity of working with the Fortnum’s team to help drive the next phase of growth and innovation.”

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