John Lewis managing director Andy Street is to stand as the Conservative candidate to be mayor of the West Midlands.
Confirmation of his interest in the role followed months of speculation that he would run.
The retailer said: ”Andy has indicated to the chairman that he is interested in running for the office, but at this stage has not been formally selected. A formal process within the Conservative Party will now take place.
“Should Andy be successful in his application, he has agreed with the chairman that he should step down from his role and a further announcement will be made to confirm the succession plan for the future leadership of the John Lewis brand.”
Street, who was brought up in Birmingham and went to the city’s prestigious King Edward’s School, has long been an advocate of the West Midlands.
In June 2015 he was awarded a CBE for services to the economy in his roles as managing director of John Lewis and as chair of the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership.
The Conservatives will select their candidate on Thursday September 29 and the candidate will speak on the main stage at the party conference in Birmingham on Sunday October 2.
A Conservative spokesman said: “At our conference they will set out their plans to make the West Midlands an even more prosperous and successful part of the country.”
Assuming Street’s candidature is successful, John Lewis is likely to update on how it will address Street’s succession.