John Lewis retail director Gareth Thomas has taken early retirement from the partnership and will leave the employee-owned retailer after 30 years.

In a statement, John Lewis said: “After thirty years at John Lewis, ten of those as a member of the John Lewis Management Board, Gareth has decided that it is now time for him to have a complete change.

“He intends to take a break from working full time and devote more of his life to his family and outside interests, one of which is his work for Save The Children, a charity which is close to his heart.”

Managing director Andy Street said he wished Gareth “every happiness and success in the future”. He said: “We will miss his leadership and insight enormously, and value the strong legacy he leaves behind him.”