John Lewis Partnership has appointed former staffer Peter Ruis to run its eponymous department store business.

Peter Ruis, John Lewis

Peter Ruis is returning to John Lewis as executive director

Ruis previously spent nearly nine years at John Lewis before leaving in 2013. He was the retailer’s buying and brand director before leaving to take senior roles at JigsawAnthropologie and most recently Indigo in Canada.

Ruis, who starts next week, replaces Naomi Simcock who ran John Lewis on an interim basis following the departure of former boss Pippa Wicks.

He joins as the Partnership battles to restore its fortunes and chair Dame Sharon White prepares to stand down.

Simcock becomes operations director at John Lewis.

Ruis said: “It’s a great privilege to return to the John Lewis Partnership after 10 years. The John Lewis brand is iconic, loved and trusted by millions of customers, and I’m excited to lead the next phase of the transformation.

“As the biggest employee-owned business in the UK, we have a huge opportunity to make even more of the unique Partner difference to provide exceptional products and service for our customers.”

Simcock said: “I’m looking forward to continuing to be part of the John Lewis leadership team, supporting our Partners and ensuring our department stores and supply chain continue to deliver for our customers.”

Partnership chief executive Nish Kankiwala said: “It’s fantastic to welcome Peter back to the Partnership. He has a deep understanding of customers, brands and product from his 30-year career spanning a variety of major high street and online retailers.

“He also brings a clear and proven passion for the John Lewis brand and the Partnership model, and I have no doubt he will be integral to our future success.

“I’d like to extend my enormous thanks to Naomi for her unwavering commitment and leadership of the John Lewis teams and business this past year.

“Naomi will do a brilliant job leading our retail and supply chain teams, working closely with Peter and the John Lewis leadership team.”