Paula Nickolds has been appointed managing director of John Lewis, becoming the first woman in the role in the department store chain's 152-year history.
Ms Nickolds has been promoted from her current role as commercial director and replaces long-serving boss Andy Street, who stepped down after joining the West Midlands mayoral race on a Conservative Party ticket.
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."
Ms Nickolds said: "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."
Ms Nickolds joined the partnership in 1994 as a graduate trainee and rose through the ranks, holding buying roles across fashion and home categories.
Subsequent positions included head of buying for furniture and head of brand development before she became commercial director in 2015.
Ms Nickolds will take up the role from January 2017.
Operations chief Dino Rocos will be the lead director responsible for John Lewis between October 28 and January, which means he will oversee the critical Christmas trading period.