Former Tesco UK chief executive Jason Tarry has been appointed chair of the John Lewis Partnership, succeeding Dame Sharon White.

Jason tarry

Jason Tarry will be new chair of the John Lewis Parternship

Tarry, who recently left Tesco after more than three decades at the grocery powerhouse, will take up his new position in September.

As well as grocery, Tarry brings experience in general merchandise and fashion, which should be valuable at John Lewis, which owns supermarket business Waitrose as well as the eponymous department stores.

White, who was appointed chair of John Lewis in 2019, decided not to seek another term in the role but will remain on hand to “support the transition as required” after formally stepping down in September.

Tarry said: “The Partnership and its brands stand for trust, value, quality and service, and it’s a great privilege to be succeeding Sharon as the seventh chairman.

“The Partnership is unique and I’ve long been an admirer of the employee-ownership model, its values and Partner-led customer service. This starts with a sharp focus on being brilliant retailers for customers and investing in growth.”

John Lewis Partnership deputy chair and chair of the nomination committee Rita Clifton said: “The board extends its huge thanks to Sharon for successfully leading the Partnership through one of the most testing periods in its history – first Covid and then the cost-of-living crisis.

“She has faced into the toughest decisions and overseen the Partnership’s financial recovery; we are in good financial health with a return to profit and have a strong balance sheet with record investment planned this year.

“Sharon has also helped ensure that employee ownership of the Partnership is secure, is demonstrably focused on its purpose as a force for good, and with an open and inclusive culture.

“As the Partnership moves into the next phase of its modernisation focused on our core retail business as well future growth, we are confident that Jason will provide the kind of inspirational leadership, a proven track record in multichannel, multi-category retail success and a strong identification with Partnership values that we are seeking in this role.” 

White said: “I’m delighted to be handing over to Jason, who has a combination of fantastic retail experience with leadership through transformation.

“From my many conversations with Jason, he has demonstrated a clear appreciation for the Partnership model and champions it. I look forward to welcoming him to the Partnership in September and carrying out a smooth handover.”