John Lewis appoints trading director

Department store group John Lewis has recruited Simon Coble to the role of trading director.

He will take up the position on January 15 and will join the John Lewis management board, reporting to managing director Paula Nickolds.

Simon joins from The Body Shop, where he was managing director UK, extending his responsibilities to Europe and North America since the end of 2016.

He is currently zone managing director for Europe and part of The Body Shop board. Prior to this he was chief executive at Uniqlo for five years, and spent 13 years with Arcadia working across a number of brands.

Simon will take on leadership of the trading team, including responsibility for the buying and merchandising teams.

Paula said: “I’m really delighted that Simon will be joining us. This is an important appointment for us, as we continue to reinvent John Lewis and put the customer at the heart of everything we do, from the design of our own-brand ranges to the experiences we offer our customers that they cannot get anywhere else. We look forward to welcoming him to the team.”

Simon commented: “It’s a privilege to be joining this unique organisation at such a pivotal time and I’m excited at the opportunities that lie ahead. John Lewis is such a special brand and I’m looking forward to being part of the team that helps shape its future commercial success in the competitive conditions currently facing modern retailing.”

Meanwhile Ed Connolly, who has been leading the trading function on an interim basis while a recruitment process took place, will take up a newly created role of director of Partnership strategy, reporting to Patrick Lewis, group finance director.

In his new role, Ed will be responsible for shaping and developing the long term direction and sustainability of the Partnership, working directly with the executive team. Ed was previously buying director for fashion for three years.

Paula said: “I would like to thank Ed for his outstanding contribution during his time leading the trading team, especially in the run-up to our peak trading period – and I wish him all the best in his new role.”

* John Lewis Partnership has promoted Andrew Murphy from group productivity director to chief information officer. He will take up the role on February 1, replacing Paul Coby, who will leave the Partnership at the end of April after almost seven years.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “I want to take this opportunity to thank Paul for his outstanding contribution to our business and the legacy he has left. Paul was the architect of the IT strategy for John Lewis, which helped to transform the business into a leading omni-channel retailer.”

Andrew joined the John Lewis Partnership in 1992 and has held several roles, including MD of John Lewis Aberdeen and MD of John Lewis Edinburgh. In 2009 he was appointed director, operational development before becoming retail director, John Lewis in 2010 and group productivity director in 2015.

The John Lewis Partnership operates 49 John Lewis shops across the UK,, 352 Waitrose shops, and business-to-business contracts in the UK and abroad. The business has annual gross sales of over £11 billion and employs 84,000 staff.

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