Move of the Week: People director Nikki Humphrey faces a challenge at JLP


Out of the frying pan and into the fire. This is the obvious conclusion to draw from Nikki Humphrey’s decision to leave Virgin Atlantic to become John Lewis Partnership’s new executive director for people.

Both organisations have been beset by challenges brought about by Covid-19 and as bellwethers of their respective industries have faced their every decision being pored over by the media.

Virgin Atlantic, where Humphrey was chief people officer, received negative press at the start of the crisis for asking staff to take eight weeks of unpaid leave in an effort to reduce costs while minimising job losses. It has subsequently confirmed it is letting go of more than 3,000 staff of a total of 10,000.

John Lewis, meanwhile, has been in the spotlight for its decision to shutter eight stores permanently, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.


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