Mark Williamson, the commercial director of supermarket chain Waitrose, is to retire at the end of January 2017.
Rupert Thomas, currently marketing director at Waitrose, will move into the commercial director role from February 2017. Rupert’s replacement will be announced at a later date.
Mark joined Waitrose in 2004 as head of buying, grocery. In 2005 his portfolio was widened to include wines, beers, spirits and tobacco. He was appointed supply chain director in 2007 and took up his current role – responsible for the sourcing, buying, ranging and pricing of branded and own label products – in 2010.
Prior to joining Waitrose, Mark started his career in marketing and buying with Tesco before moving to J Sainsbury where he covered a number of senior buying roles, as well as being promoted to procurement director and trading director.
Mark will continue as chair of the Leckford Estate – the Waitrose Farm – a role he took up earlier this year.
Waitrose managing director Rob Collins said: “Mark has done a fantastic job and achieved great things on the commercial front. He’s been a valued board colleague, bringing wisdom and experience to our work. I’m delighted that he continues as chairman of Leckford so that we will still benefit from his contribution to our business.
“Rupert, our very successful marketing director, also has strong commercial experience. He joined Waitrose in 2003 having spent over 10 years in various commercial and marketing roles. His first job with us was heading our grocery and fruit buying teams. He is the ideal candidate to pick up the baton from Mark, and I wish them both well for the future.”
Waitrose operates 350 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including 61 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations.The retailer also exports its products to countries worldwide and has eight shops which operate under licence in the Middle East. Its omnichannel business includes the online grocery service Waitrose.com, as well as specialist online shops including waitrosecellar.com for wine and waitrosekitchen.com for housewares.