John lewis Partnership finance director

Source: JLP

Michel will leave the business ‘later this year’

Bérangère Michel is to step down from her role as the John Lewis Partnership’s executive finance director.

Her departure is the first major change to the partnership’s executive team since Jason Tarry was announced as the chairman elect to replace Sharon White in September.

Michel – who goes by Bey – will leave the business “later this year” in order to pursue “future career options” elsewhere, after 16 years with the Partnership.

During that time she has held a number of roles, first as head of financial strategy before an eight-year spell within the John Lewis business working across supply chain, operations and finance roles.

She was promoted to partnership CFO by White in 2021. Since then, she has been a regular face at JLP’s annual results calls during what has largely been a difficult period for the partnership, which has struggled with consecutive annual losses amid soaring inflation.

With the business returning to profit in 2023, and with a new strategy in place aimed at doubling down on the retail basics, Michel said it was the “right time” to step down.

“After 16 fantastic years in the Partnership, and with the business on a strong financial footing with funding secured for the next phase of the plan, it feels like the right time to move on. So I have decided to leave to pursue other opportunities,” said Michel.

“I have loved every moment of my time in both Waitrose and John Lewis and am extremely grateful for a varied, exciting and impactful career across supply chain, shops, finance and many other teams. I would especially like to thank partners for making the Partnership a truly special place. I will continue rooting for the Partnership, its great customer service and co-ownership model.”

White, who is set to depart the business when Tarry joins in September, said Michel embodied “everything that is special about the Partnership” and had been a “fervent champion” of JLP’s ownership model.

“She will leave the Partnership in a much stronger financial position, overseeing a return to profit, record investment planned for this year and debt at historic lows. Bey has played an instrumental role on the executive team and board and has our very best wishes as she seeks her next challenge,” White said.

Nish Kankiwala, JLP CEO, thanked Michel “for her remarkable contribution to the Partnership over 16 years” and for the “critical role” she has played in refreshing JLP’s turnaround plan.

“Her passion for our unique model and commitment and dedication to securing our long-term success have been unwavering,” he said. “I know Bey will be missed by everyone in the Partnership.”

Prior to joining JLP, Michel spent nearly 12 years at Royal Mail, including as finance director of its property division between 2005 and 2008.