John Lewis has poached a Body Shop exec and created the new role of partnership strategy director on a bid to future-proof its model.

The new role will be filled by Ed Connolly, currently interim trading director. Former UK managing director of The Body Shop Simon Coble, who is currently boss of its European arm, will replace him.

Connolly will be responsible for “developing the long term direction and sustainability of the partnership”.

John Lewis’ unique shared ownership model has come under pressure in recent years as structural pressures, including a slowdown in consumer spending, begin to bite.

While Coble is currently at The Body Shop, he has spent the majority of his career at fashion retailers. he was chief executive of Uniqlo for five years and he also spent 13 years at Arcadia, working across a number of its brands.

Paula Nickolds, managing director of John Lewis said: “It is an important appointment for us as we continue to reinvent John Lewis and put the customer at the heart of everything we do from the design of our truly unique own brand ranges to the experiences we offer our customers that they cannot get anywhere else.”