BTR move

Setback for John Lewis as property leader quits

Dame Sharon White: diversification (pic: Terry Murden)

The executive who spearheaded John Lewis’s move into the rental housing sector has left the partnership in a setback to its plans for diversification.

Chris Harris, the property director last year led negotiations to secure £500m from Edinburgh-based Abrdn to invest in a BTR joint venture.

He has been with the business for five years and will stay until November, but is planning to set up his own investment company after being approached by private equity backers.

John Lewis hopes to build up to 10,000 — a key part of chairman Dame Sharon White’s diversification strategy, which will see 40% of the group’s profits come from non-retailing activities by 2030.

Before joining John Lewis, Mr Harris spent 11 years at Arcadia Group, most recently as property and procurement director, prior to which he was vice-president operations and real estate at Blockbuster.

He told Property Week: “After five wonderful years I’ve decided that the time is right for me to explore new opportunities outside of the partnership.

“Working for a partner-owned organisation, with purpose at its heart, is very special – and I’m particularly grateful to those partners in the property and BTR teams that I have had the enormous pleasure to work with, have provided me with so much support, and have made sure that we are well set up to deliver our strategic goals.”

Berangere Michel, JLP’s executive director, finance, said: “I’d like to personally thank Chris for all that he has done for the partnership and the important role he has played in setting us up for future success. He leaves us with our very best wishes for the future.”

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