Former AlixPartners expert named John Lewis Executive Director

30 June 2020 3 min. read
More news on

UK retail partnership John Lewis has appointed a new Executive Director. As of August, former AlixPartners Managing Director Pippa Wicks will be responsible for trading, merchandising, marketing and developing propositions and services for John Lewis shops and

“I am delighted to welcome Pippa to the Partnership,” Sharon White, Partner & Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said. “She brings a wealth of experience of leading and developing businesses that deliver brilliant products and services to customers, both online and in stores. As we emerge from the pandemic there is tremendous opportunity for John Lewis to play an even bigger role in people’s lives. I am confident that under Pippa’s leadership the brand will continue to thrive.”

Wicks steps into the vacancy left by Paula Nickolds, who received a near-£1 million pay-out for exiting in January, with John Lewis having recorded lacklustre Christmas sales. Nickolds had worked for the business for 25 years in various roles before her departure, and was the first female Managing Director of the department store in its 156-year history.

Former AlixPartners expert named John Lewis Executive Director

Now, as John Lewis attempts to turn around its fortunes amid a floundering UK retail sector, and following the UK’s stringent Covid-19 lock-down of non-essential stores, Wicks will be tasked with taking care of John Lewis’ trading, merchandising, marketing and developing propositions and services in a post-coronavirus lockdown trading environment. Her appointment forms part of a seven-strong executive team and follows James Bailey joining as Executive Director of Waitrose in April.

Commenting on her new challenge, Wicks said, “I feel extremely privileged to be joining the John Lewis Partnership at such an important time in its history. As Executive Director responsible for the John Lewis business I look forward to working closely with partners to steer through these extraordinary times in society and in retail. As the biggest employee-owned business in the UK and one of the biggest in the world there is an opportunity to provide both exceptional service for customers as well as really meaningful work for partners.”

Wicks is an experienced business leader and consultant, having started her career at Bain & Company where she became a Senior Manager before going on to become Group CFO of Europe’s largest textile and clothing manufacturer, Courtaulds Textiles, for seven years. After a spell as CEO of Pearson division FT Knowledge, she joined global consultancy AlixPartners in 2003, going on to co-found the firm’s European operations, while taking on a number of interim CEO and COO positions at both UK and European companies.

In 2014, following such an engagement, she was appointed COO of Co-op, and later Deputy Chief Executive in 2017. Alongside her new role with John Lewis, Wicks remains Chair of the Foundation Council of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, a Non-Executive Director of the Metropolitan Police Service, and Vice-Chair at AlixPartners, with a focus on its turnaround and restructuring business.