Waitrose boss leaving amid John Lewis overhaul

The John Lewis Partnership has said the boss of its Waitrose chain will leave and around 75 head office roles are being axed under plans to bring its department stores and supermarket under the same management team.

Rob Collins, managing director of the Waitrose business, will leave in January after a 26-year career with the group following its decision to scrap separate management teams for its two divisions.

The overhaul means it will cut around 75 of its 225 senior management head office roles as part of moves that will save it around £100 million “over time”.

But John Lewis managing director Paula Nickolds will remain with the group, taking on the newly created role of executive director for brand.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, outgoing chairman of John Lewis, said the group needed to take “bolder steps” to turn around its fortunes in a difficult retail market.

He said: “Although there will be little or no disruption to our shops or websites in the near term, there will be considerable change in many other areas of the partnership as we bring the two businesses much closer together.

“These are necessary and these changes will be difficult for some of our partners and we will implement as carefully and sensitively as we can.”

He added: “We are confident, as a board, 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.”

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