You can always tell when we’ve entered the heart of the ‘golden quarter’ by the slowdown in activity in the jobs market.

At an executive level at least, the market has paused for breath as retailers put all their focus into delivering the kind of Christmas trading performance that can turn a poor year into a moderate year and a good year into a great year.

One move has caught the eye this week, however, and that’s Andrew Murphy’s appointment as chief information officer at the John Lewis Partnership.

Murphy succeeds Paul Coby, the architect of John Lewis’s IT strategy and a key player in its transformation into a leading omnichannel retailer.

Murphy, a JLP lifer who joined the organisation straight out of university in 1992, has played a similarly integral role in the business’s recent development, having spent the past two and a bit years as group productivity and change director.

“CIO is a vitally important role for JLP and one that appears well suited to Murphy’s skillset”

Don’t be fooled by the rather abstruse job title: Murphy has been a driving force behind the delivery of JLP’s manifesto for change, set out in its 2016 annual report, which supports the new business strategy and aims to make the organisation more dynamic and agile.

His task has been to implement plans that support JLP’s productivity improvements, financial strategy and future organisational structure, and with finding efficiencies across both the John Lewis and Waitrose brands.

Productivity is a buzzword in business circles at the moment, in part because the UK performs so poorly on this measure against other developed economies.

Retail productivity is particularly problematic (the Government identifies it as one of five sectors that make up the majority of the UK’s productivity shortfall), however JLP has long been ahead of the curve in this respect and has acknowledged that its long-term financial health relies on maximising productivity and linking it with performance, pay and progression.

It is notable that Murphy’s own progression has taken him into a CIO role where the ability to think strategically is such a desirable attribute.

CIO is a vitally important role for JLP and one that appears well suited to Murphy’s skillset.

With the jobs market winding down, this will be my last article of 2017. I’d like to wish all readers a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous 2018.

Major moves this month

Name Job role Previous company/company exiting Company joining Job role
Takao Kuwahara Chief executive Uniqlo Europe Uniqlo Japan Chief operating officer
Taku Morikawa   Internal promotion Uniqlo Europe Chief executive
Jesús Lorente Chief merchandising officer Carrefour, Spain Asda Chief merchandising officer
Andrew Moore Chief merchandising officer Asda Retiring  
Cormac Tobin UK managing director Lloyds Pharmacy    
Alistair McGeorge     New Look Executive chairman
Helen Weir Chief financial officer Marks & Spencer    
Henrietta Baring UK and Ireland head of IT transformation Bunnings Dixons Carphone IT director
Sara Bradley BHS International Consultant Brand Director Debenhams Womenswear director
Ruth Harrison-Wood Worldwide group customer and marketing director National Express Oak Furniture Land Chief marketing officer
Polly Dickens Creative director Habitat Retiring from role  
Kate Butler Senior design manager Internal promotion Habitat Creative director
John Edgar Chief financial officer Harrods    
Preyash Thakrar Senior vice president, strategy and real estate Walmart Canada Asda Chief strategy officer
Anthony Hemmerdinger Vice-president of retail south Internal promotion Asda Senior vice president, retail operations director
Chris Walker Vice-president of supermarkets Internal promotion Asda Vice-president, retail south
Steve Shirley   Internal promotion Asda Vice-president, supermarkets
Mark Simpson Vice-president, central retail operations Internal promotion Asda Vice-president of supply and replenishment
Jodie Tate Zone managing director for the North Sainsbury’s Asda Vice-president, central retail
Phil Tenney Chief information officer Internal promotion Asda Chief digital and technology officer
Alexander Bartholomew Multichannel director The Range Steinhoff UK Ecommerce & digital director
Andy Haywood Chief operating officer N Brown    
Ian Kellett Chief executive Pets at Home    
Peter Pritchard Chief executive of retail Internal promotion Pets at Home Chief executive

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