John Lewis Partnership has today announced the appointment of a Chief Executive for the Partnership. Nish Kankiwala has been a non-executive director of the John Lewis Partnership since April 2021. He is a former Chief Executive of Hovis and has held senior roles at Burger King and PepsiCo. Nish will take up the new Chief Executive role on 27 March and remains a member of the Partnership Board.
Founded by John Spedan Lewis, the John Lewis Partnership is the UK’s biggest employee-owned business with nearly 80,000 Partners. It runs two much loved brands in Waitrose and John Lewis.
Sharon White, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership said: “I’m delighted that Nish is to be Chief Executive. Since joining the Board in 2021, Nish has developed a deep understanding and appreciation of the Partnership model and has provided counsel on our transformation. He will be able to supercharge this in his new role while protecting the Partnership’s ethos:.
Nish Kankiwala said: “It’s a great privilege to be appointed as Chief Executive following two rewarding years on the Partnership’s Board as a non-executive director. I am looking forward to playing an even fuller part in the transformation of the Partnership, to be a modern business loved by customers and treasured by our Partners”.
Nish brings a wealth of experience in consumer goods and retail, having worked with some of the great global brands. He started his careeras a Graduate Trainee with Unilever and worked in The Netherlands, France and then the US, where he held a number of commercial and operational roles. Subsequently, Nish joined PepsiCo and over 10 years ended up being President of the soft drinks business in Europe and Africa. His career spanned consumer retail; being President of Burger King International, as Chairman and CEO, Jeyes, Tommee Tippee and Plum Baby Foods. He arrived at Hovis in 2014, initially as Chairman and then as CEO, where he had led the turnaround of a much loved and cherished business.
For the year ending 28 Feb. ‘23, total Partnership sales were £12.25bn, down 2% over last year. At Waitrose, sales were down by 3% to £7.31bn and at John Lewis sales were £4.94bn, up 0.2%. Partnership customers increased by 4% to 20.3 million while Waitrose customers grew 7% to 13.7 million and John Lewis customers went up 0.5% to 11.7 million. The Partnership made a loss of £78m and when you add in exceptional costs, the biggest one being a write down in the value of Waitrose stores, the total loss was £234m. However, the balance sheet remains strong with £1bn of cash and access to a £420m credit facility.