John Lewis managing director to quit after selection as Tory mayoral candidate

The managing director of department store chain John Lewis is set to step down after being chosen as the Conservative candidate for metropolitan mayor of the West Midlands.

Andy Street, who rose to lead the board after joining the firm as a graduate trainee, was selected on Thursday night to fight the 2017 election.

When he announced his decision to seek the nomination at the start of September, Mr Street said he would quit as managing director, a role he has held for nine years, if successful.

On Thursday night, he said voters in the West Midlands faced "a critical election" in May.

Mr Street said: "It will determine how we create wealth here and what type of society the West Midlands will become. I promise to work tirelessly to convince voters that I am the man to lead us through these decisions.

"The opportunity we now have is unprecedented. Our economy is being renewed, but we have much more to do to ensure everybody feels the benefit. Our mission is therefore to build the economic powerhouse of Britain in an inclusive way."

Mr Street is due to deliver a speech at the Conservative Party conference, which takes place in Birmingham this weekend.

He joined John Lewis in 1985 after reading politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) at Oxford.

As well as heading the firm, he has served on a number of government bodies, including the Prime Minister's Business Advisory Group.

He has also been chairman of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, which is tasked with driving regional economic growth.

The mayoral role oversees regional affairs including road networks, housing supply and bus services and leads the combined authority covering Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Walsall, Sandwell, Solihull and Wolverhampton.