Managing director, John Lewis

Andy Street Managing Director John Lewis

The flamboyant John Lewis managing director struck a blow for all HR directors in retail when he was promoted to run the business when Charlie Mayfield (1) got the Partnership chairman’s job in 2007. Brummie Andy Street’s real achievement has been to meld the best of John Lewis’s traditional values with excellence in modern retailing.

He has continued to build John Lewis’s formidable multichannel capability, and dealt with the halt in shopping centre development by coming up with the new At Home smaller store format, which has helped the department store maintain its growth.

But it’s in the brand that the achievements of Street have been most notable. He has reinforced the Never Knowingly Understood pledge with a brilliant advertising campaign, and worked to give John Lewis the credibility in fashion it has always lacked.

The stores have been given a more modern edge and Street - a character who despite a long career in the Partnership is as far removed from the military John Lewis stereotype as it is possible to imagine - is the man who had led that charge.