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John Lewis appoints former director to helm retail business

By Rachel Douglass


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Peter Ruis, executive director of John Lewis. Credits: John Lewis Partnership.

John Lewis Partnership has announced that Peter Ruis, a former director of the company, will be returning to lead the retail business through its next phase of transformation.

Ruis will take on the role of executive director for John Lewis from January 15, 2024, seeing its current interim, Naomi Simcock, take up the new position of operations director for the retailer.

Ruis is returning to John Lewis after exiting the partnership back in September` 2013, at which time he had been serving in the position of executive buying and branding director since early 2005.

He went on to become chief executive officer for Jigsaw, a position he held for nearly five years, throughout which he aided in expanding the brand into 11 new countries.

Ruis then became managing director for Anthropologie, where he also led an international drive, before becoming chief executive officer at Indigo in Canada, his most recent role prior to his John Lewis return.

Appointment comes amid retail refocus in transformation plan

Back during his initial time at the British department store, Ruis was present for the company’s previous transformation into an omni-channel retailer, taking responsibility for commercial and marketing goals of the business.

His latest appointment coincides with yet another transformation period for John Lewis, however, which had initiated a turnaround plan in early 2022, with the goal of reaching 400 million pounds profit by 2025.

While this was the initial mission, certain delays have forced the retailer to extend this deadline, with the profit goal now expected not to be complete until 2027/28.

This announcement was made when Nish Kankiwala, who had been appointed as the partnership’s president in March, told employees in an internal memo that the strategy had been shifted to prioritise a “one retail mindset”, with a fuller plan expected to be outlined later in 2024.

On his impending position and what is to come, Ruis said in a release: “It’s a great privilege to return to the John Lewis Partnership after 10 years. The John Lewis brand is iconic, loved and trusted by millions of customers across the UK and I’m excited to lead the next phase of the transformation.

“As the biggest employee-owned business in the UK, we have a huge opportunity to make even more of the unique Partner difference to provide exceptional products and service for our customers.”

John Lewis