The Partnership

When our founder, John Spedan Lewis, set up the Partnership, he was careful to create a governance system, set out in the company's Constitution, that would be both commercial - allowing the company to move quickly and maintain a leading position in a competitive industry - and democratic, giving every Partner a voice in the business they co-own. This combination of commercial acumen and corporate conscience, so ahead of its time, is what makes us the business we are today.

Chris Coburn, Corporate
Chris Coburn, Corporate - Partnership Councillor

A system of checks and balances

High standards of corporate governance are at the heart of the Partnership: our structure gives our management the freedom to be entrepreneurial and competitive in the way they run the business for long-term success, while giving the company's owners, the Partners, the rights and responsibilities of ownership through active involvement in the business.

The Chairman, the Partnership Board, the divisional Management boards and the Chairman's Committee form the management of the company. The Partnership Council along with divisional, regional and local democratic bodies, give Partners a voice and hold our management to account. The Partnership Council also elects five Partnership Board directors.


The Partners' Counsellor has responsibility for democratic engagement and ensures the independence, health and effectiveness of the Partnership's representative bodies.

The Chairman, the Partnership Board and the Partnership Council make up the main governing authorities of the Partnership.