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Ex-Tesco executive to take chair at John Lewis

Jason Tarry will succeed Dame Sharon White

A former Tesco executive will become the new chairman of the John Lewis Partnership as the department store and Waitrose group continues to battle pressures in the retail sector.

Jason Tarry was CEO of Tesco UK for six years at the end of a 33 year career with Britain’s biggest supermarket chain.

He will take up the role in September, replacing Dame Sharon White who is stepping down at the end of her five-year term at the employee-owned firm. By serving for just one term Dame Sharon will be the shortest-serving chairman.

During that period she had to steer the group though Covid and the cost of living crisis, as well as an acceleration in online shopping.

Dame Sharon survived a staff vote of confidence last year after the business posted annual losses worth hundreds of millions. She twice withheld the annual bonus paid to staff, known as partners, for the only time since 1953.

John Lewis store in St James
John Lewis has faced big changes in the retail landscape (pic: Terry Murden / DB Media Services)

Her potential solutions to the company’s financial difficulties also proved controversial, with job losses and store closures, including Aberdeen, but she did oversee a return to profit in its latest financial year.

Mr Tarry will become only the seventh chairman. After announcing his appointment, deputy chairman Rita Clifton said: “Huge thanks to Sharon for successfully leading the partnership through one of the most testing periods in its history – first COVID and then the cost of living crisis.”

Mr Tarry said he has “long been an admirer of the employee-ownership model”.

He worked in grocery, general merchandise and fashion during his time at Tesco and led the expansion of the F&F clothing range across Europe while in the group chief executive role at the supermarket chain.

Ted Baker store closures

Ted Baker, the fashion retailer, is to shut a further 11 stores and will axe 245 jobs, the firm’s administrators have announced.

The company behind the brand’s UK shops, No Ordinary Designer Label Limited (NODL), hired Teneo last month to oversee its affairs.

Four stores were announced before the appointment of Teneo and today’s announcement will see 120 jobs axed. There will 25 head office redundancie to cut central costs.

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