John Lewis Partnership has appointed its first independent directors in a bid to provide “insight and challenge” to the group.

Clare Tickell - John Lewis Partnership Independent Director

Clare Tickell

Dame Clare Tickell and Michael Herlihy will take up their new full-time roles at John Lewis Partnership on October 14 and in February 2020 respectively, and will work alongside three existing non-executive directors of the board.

Tickell 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.

She has previously held several senior roles including chief executive of Hanover Housing Association and Action for Children and said she is “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,” she added.

Michael Herlihy - John Lewis Partnership Independent Director

Michael Herlihy

Oxford graduate Herlihy was appointed as partnership secretary and a member of the executive team in April 2018.

Previous to that he was general counsel for Smiths Group and has held a variety of non-executive roles including independent director at Imperial Brands.

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

John Lewis Partnership chair Charlie Mayfield said: “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.”