Rupert Thomas

Thomas worked for Waitrose for about two decades

Fortnum & Mason has named former Waitrose veteran Rupert Thomas as chief commercial officer.

Thomas will lead the buying, merchandising and international teams at the Queen’s grocer from April.

He left the John Lewis-owned supermarket after 17 years in January following a refreshment of the leadership team by boss James Bailey.

He will replace commercial director Lucy Williams, who has been with the luxury retailer for four years. She will leave in April after a short handover.

In joining Fortnum’s Thomas is following in the footsteps of former Waitrose CFO Tom Athron, who took over from Ewan Venters as F&M CEO last December.

“My priority is to set our business up for the next major leg in its extraordinary growth trajectory,” said Athron. “To do this, we need to create customer propositions that sing across all our channels – and bring our teams together to fuel innovation and new ways of working.

“Rupert is a wonderful fit with this ambition: a highly experienced and inspirational business leader, he has a great track record of driving growth that is underpinned by a passion for premium brands, bold innovation, and an ability to create unique customer experiences”.

Thomas added: “I’m hugely excited to be joining the Fortnum & Mason family. An iconic British brand, it continues to distinguish itself around the globe with outstanding quality products and exceptional levels of service. It is going to be an important year for the retail and hospitality sectors, and I’m relishing the opportunity of working with the Fortnum’s team to help drive the next phase of growth and innovation.”