October 2, 2019 @ 9:34 by Steven Hugill
Retailer John Lewis Partnership has warned a third of senior management jobs are at risk in a £100 million cost-saving restructure.
The company, which runs a department store in Newcastle’s Eldon Square, is merging the management teams of its high street stores and Waitrose grocery chain into a single entity.
The changes are expected to cut around 75 head office roles from an existing 225 positions.
Bosses say the move, expected to be completed by February next year, will “enable a faster delivery of better products and services for our customers.”
According to the plans, a single executive team will be responsible for the Partnership’s strategy and performance.
Led by a chairman, the executive team will comprise seven new director roles. There will no longer be divisional boards or separate managing directors for John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners.
Among the new roles created, Paula Nickolds, currently managing director of John Lewis & Partners, will become executive director for brand.
A smaller Partnership board will include a chairman, executive director for finance, three elected directors and a minimum of two non-executive directors.
Sir Charlie Mayfield, 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.
“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.
“These changes will be difficult for some of our partners and we will implement as carefully and sensitively as we can.
“(However), we are confident that when the programme is complete, the Partnership will be better positioned to break out from the cycle of declining returns that are affecting most established retailers.”
Alongside its Eldon Square department store, the business runs a Waitrose outlet in the same precinct and further shops in Jesmond and Ponteland.