John Lewis Partnership has announced the appointment of Paula Nickolds as the group’s new managing director, making her the first woman to undertake this role in the retailer’s 152-year history.
She will replace Andy Street in 2017, who departs from the company to run as Conservative candidate for Mayor of West Midlands.
Nickolds, who is currently the partnership’s commercial director, joined the organisation in 1994 as a graduate trainee. She went on to hold a number of senior positions at the company and joined the board as the buying and brand director in 2013.
She said in a statement: “As a partner with 22 years service, I know just how special the John Lewis Partnership is.
“Driven by our unique business model, and with innovation in our DNA, I am immensely excited to lead John Lewis on the next stage of our journey.”
Last month the company revealed that plunging profits forced it to scale back expansion plans for its Waitrose supermarket chain. The group recorded a fall of 14.7 per cent in pre-tax profit to £81.9m, for the six months to the end of July, .
Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “At a time of transformation in the retail sector, Paula’s progressive and dynamic leadership is just what’s needed for the next phase of modern retailing.”
Dino Rocos, operations director, will oversee the group until Nickolds assumes her position next year.