Ex-Jigsaw chief Ruis takes John Lewis helm

Ex-Jigsaw chief Ruis takes John Lewis helm

After a long period in which it has been criticised for not having enough specific retail expertise in its very senior management, John Lewis Partnership made a big move in this area on Thursday and announced a new Executive Director to lead the John Lewis department stores/webstore business, as well as a new Operations Director.

John Lewis

So who are the two execs taking on these key roles? Step forward Peter Ruis and Naomi Simcock.

Ruis takes up his post next week and brings with him over three decades of leadership experience at major retailers and brands.

It’s important to underline just how crucial this change is, with the retailer having struggled in recent years and its turnaround taking longer than expected. It faces numerous challenges at present and needs the strong and experienced leadership that it’s hoped the two new appointees will provide.

The experience Peter Ruis brings is clear. He was most recently CEO at Indigo plc in Canada, “leading the business as it transitioned out of the pandemic over the past three years”.

Before that he led Anthropologie’s international drive as MD. But he’s probably best known within UK retail for having been CEO at Jigsaw for four years, “taking the brand into 11 countries and o to the catwalk at London Fashion Week”.

He’s also a former John Lewis director having joined the Partnership in 2005 and been with it during what were its glory days when it seemed the business could do no wrong.

Over nine years, we’re told he was “a key part of the transformation that led to John Lewis being crowned Retailer of the Year in 2013, in a period where its proposition modernised, it became an omnichannel leader, and its hallmark Christmas adverts were introduced”.

He’d been Buying and Brand Director and had executive responsibility for the commercial and marketing arms of the business.

Meanwhile, Simcock, who’d previously stepped up as Interim Executive Director, is now Operations Director and will work closely with Ruis, taking “responsibility for John Lewis Retail and Supply Chain”.

Partnership CEO Nish Kankiwala thanked her for her work during her interim job and said she’ll “do a brilliant job leading our retail and supply chain teams, working closely with Peter and the John Lewis leadership team”.

He also hailed the “clear and proven passion for the John Lewis brand and the Partnership model” that Ruis will bring.

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