John Lewis promotes former marketing boss to top job

Paula Nickolds, who was previously buying and brand director at John Lewis, will now take on an even more senior role.

The John Lewis Partnership has appointed former marketer Paula Nickolds as its new managing director.

She will replace veteran managing director Andy Street, who is quitting John Lewis to explore a career in politics. He will leave the retailer this month following his selection as the Conservative party candidate in next year’s West Midlands mayoral race.

Nickolds, who has been with the business since 1994, finally joined the board back in 2013 as buying and brand director. During her two years as marketing chief, she oversaw popular Christmas campaigns such as Monty the Penguin in 2014.

She was most recently commercial director, where her focus was to bring innovation to the look and feel of the 48 UK John Lewis stores.

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said Nickolds would help lead the business with dynamism and is “just what’s needed for the next phase of modern retailing”.

Nickolds will take up the role of managing director from January 2017.

News of her appointment comes as John Lewis saw total sales of £91.0m, up 6.7% year-on-year, for the week ending 22 October.

Unlike struggling rival M&S, fashion continues to drive sales for John Lewis. For the weekly period its fashions sales were up 10.3% year-on-year, a rise driven by a strong performance in womenswear.