UK's John Lewis Names Ex-Tesco Executive Jason Tarry As Its Next Chair

By Reuters
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UK's John Lewis Names Ex-Tesco Executive Jason Tarry As Its Next Chair

Britain's John Lewis Partnership has appointed former Tesco executive Jason Tarry as its next chair, following Sharon White's decision to step down from the retailer.

Tarry, who has 33 years of retail experience at Tesco, including six as the supermarket's UK & Ireland boss, will take up the role in September, John Lewis said in a statement.

He said it was a "great privilege" to succeed White as the seventh chairman of the employee-owned company that owns John Lewis department stores and Waitrose supermarkets.

White, the retailer's first female chair, said in October she would not seek a second term of office, making her tenure the shortest in its more than 100-year history.

The company's stores, long favoured by Britain's middle classes, were already facing competition from online rivals before the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis heaped pressure on the group.


White, who had no retail experience before taking the role, closed stores and cut jobs, resulting in a return to profit in 2023 after three years of losses.

She said she was delighted to hand over to Tarry, who had "a combination of fantastic retail experience with leadership through transformation".

Analyst Comment

According to GlobalData, Tarry has the 'right retail expertise' to help John Lewis Partnership succeed.

Zoe Mills, lead retail analyst at GlobalData commented, “Jason Tarry was at the helm of Tesco during the crucial development of its Clubcard loyalty scheme, taking the discounters head-on and creating a retail model that its competitors have emulated since. He certainly has the experience and knowhow to rejuvenate the John Lewis Partnership.”


She noted that Tarry's role at John Lewis will need a require a different tactic to that employed at Tesco, adding Marks & Spencer will be a challenge to the business as opposed to discounters.

Mills added, “Within Waitrose & Partners, Tarry must not lose sight of its more premium proposition. While remaining price-competitive will be crucial, as within general merchandise, the focus must be on quality and justifying higher price points to entice shoppers to trade up.

“Waitrose has sensibly preserved premium touches such as fresh-food counters; Tarry would be unwise to strip these out of the business as was the case at Tesco.”

News by Reuters, additional reporting by ESM.

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