Dame Sharon White is set to step down as the boss of the John Lewis Partnership (JLP) at the end of her current five-year term.
The former Ofcom chief joined the employee-owned business at the start of 2020 and has since led a major overhaul which has included a raft of store closures and a shift in new business areas such as rental accommodation.
Dame Sharon will stand down as chair of the partnership, which runs the historic department store chain and supermarket chain Waitrose, when she completes her term in February 2025.
JLP said she asked the partnership board to initiate the process to appoint a successor.
The move will make her the shortest-serving chair in the partnership’s 100-year history, according to the BBC.
Dame Sharon said: “Having led the partnership through the pandemic and the worst of the cost-of-living crisis, it is important that there is now a smooth and orderly succession process and handover.
“The partnership is making progress in its modernisation and transformation with improving results.
“There is a long road ahead and I am committed to handing on the strongest possible partnership to my successor.”
It comes weeks after the retail group posted a £59m loss for the six months to July and said the five-year transformation plan launched by the retail group in 2020 will take two years longer than planned.
The retail group posted a £234m loss in the last financial year, forcing it to scrap its annual bonus for staff.
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