Department store chain John Lewis has announced the appointment of Rita Clifton as its new deputy chair, replacing Keith Williams.

Clifton will join John Lewis’ partnership board in February and will replace Williams who stood down in April following six years in the role. 

Clifton currently holds non-executive board roles with both Nationwide Building Society and Retail Week’s parent company Ascential. She stood down from the board of pureplay fashion giant Asos in April after six years as its non-executive director. 

She has also sat on the boards of Dixons Retail, Emap, Bupa and the research firm Populus Group.

Alongside her work with corporate boards, Clifton has been active in the charity sphere. She has been on the boards of the WWF, the UK Sustainable Development Commission and as a trustee of the environmental think tank Green Alliance.

She was recently named as the chair of trustees at Forum for the Future.

John Lewis chair Dame Sharon White said: “I’m delighted that Rita is joining the partnership as deputy chair. She brings a wealth of leadership experience across an impressive career. Rita is a perfect fit for the partnership and we’ll benefit greatly from her deep expertise in brand strategy and retail. I’m very grateful to Andy Martin who has done a fantastic job as our interim deputy chair.” 

Clifton said: “Waitrose and John Lewis are two of the country’s most trusted brands, which are loved by customers. I’ve long admired the partnership’s products, purpose and unique approach to doing business. I’m looking forward to joining the board as the partnership enters the next exciting phase in its development.”