John Lewis Partnership has kicked off a major restructure to bring John Lewis and Waitrose under the same management structure.
The move has seen Waitrose boss Rob Collins depart as the group begins to axes one in three senior management roles. As a result of the shake-up Paula Nickolds, currently managing director of department stores, will become executive director of brand, heading marketing, service and digital innovation across the group.
It’s a radical overhaul as the company looks to recover following a pretax loss amounting to nearly £26m in the six months to 27 July compared with a profit of £800,000 in the same period a year before.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, the chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Our current structure has served us well in the past, enabling us to develop two of the UK’s most loved and trusted brands.
“In the last three years we have delivered significant innovation and driven efficiency, maintaining market-leading service standards and growing customer numbers. However, the lesson of the last two years is that we need more innovation, faster decision making and bolder steps to align our operating model with our strategy. This is what the ‘Future Partnership’ is all about.”
With one in three senior head office management posts set to go, the group expects to see savings in the region of £100m “over time”.
Nickolds appointment to head up the retailer's group marketing marks the first major change to its team since a reshuffle in 2015 which saw then marketing director, Craig Inglis promoted to a wider 'customer director' role in an expanded remit to cover the whole customer experience alongside his marketing and customer insight duties.
Martin George holds the same role at Waitrose.
Inglis has been at John Lewis for over a decade and been responsible for its successful Christmas advertising campaigns with long-standing advertising agency Adam & Eve DDB.
The Drum contacted John Lewis for clarification on what Nickolds role means for their marketing responsibilities.
A spokesperson said that they are in a period of consultation but delined to comment further: "A number of the Executive roles have been confirmed but the proposals we have announced are subject to consultation and until that process has completed it would be inappropriate to comment further about individuals."
Nickolds will not assume responsibiliy for marketing until next February with Inglis and George still managing the all-important festive advertising push, which will kick off in the coming months.
Last year, the two divisions ran their first joint marketing campaign to mark their respective rebrands to John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.