John Lewis Partnership appoints first independent directors

Dame Clare Tickell and Michael Herlihy have been appointed today (Monday September 9) as the first independent directors of John Lewis Partnership (JLP).

Reporting to JLP chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield, the new roles are designed to provide ‘insight and challenge’ to JLP. Both roles are full-time and are in addition to the three non-executive directors that sit on the JLP board.

Dame Clare Tickell will take up her role from October 14. She is currently non-executive director at the National Audit Office, chair of the board at the Early Intervention Foundation and a Fellow of the RSA.

Clare was chief executive of Hanover Housing Association from January 2014 to November 2018 and prior to that held a number of senior roles including chief executive of Action for Children, chief executive of the Stonham Housing Association and a range of other organisations providing housing for people.

She said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Partnership at a time of such critical change. I’ve been a long-time admirer of its principles and look forward to taking up this important role.”

Michael Herlihy will begin his new role from February 3 2020. He was appointed as partnership secretary and a member of JLP’s executive team in April 2018. He joined from Smiths Group, where he was general counsel for almost 10 years, prior to which he spent 26 years at Imperial Chemical Industries including 10 as general counsel. He has also held a variety of non-executive roles including senior independent director at Imperial Brands.

He said: “The roots of these new roles go all the way back to the original principles and organisation that [JLP founder] Spedan Lewis designed for the Partnership, and to be asked to take on this responsibility at such a challenging time is a huge honour.”

Sir Charlie Mayfield commented: “I’m delighted with these appointments and the experience that both Clare and Michael will bring to these roles. The independent directors are new roles formed as part of our review of the Partnership’s governance structure. They are designed to provide a source of insight and challenge on the extent to which they are upholding the Principles of the Constitution. Free from operational responsibilities, the independent directors work on behalf of the chairman and trustees of the Constitution, and will play a critical role in ensuring the integrity of the Partnership.”

JLP owns and operates department store group John Lewis & Partners and supermarket chain Waitrose & Partners. Started nearly a century ago, JLP is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with 83,900 employees who are all Partners in the business and share in its profits. JLP has annual gross sales of over £11.7 billion, almost 400 shops and an online business.

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