John Lewis Partnership appoints first Independent Directors

Monday 9 September

Dame Clare Tickell and Michael Herlihy have been appointed today as the Partnership’s first Independent Directors.

Reporting to the Chairman, the new roles are designed to provide insight and challenge to the Partnership. Both roles are full-time and are in addition to the three Non-Executive Directors that sit on the Partnership Board.

Dame Clare Tickell will join the Partnership to take up her role from 14 October. She is currently Non-Executive Director at the National Audit Office, Chair of the Board at the Early Intervention Foundation and a Fellow of the RSA. Clare was Chief Executive of Hanover Housing Association from January 2014 to November 2018 and prior to that held a number of senior roles including Chief Executive of Action for Children, Chief Executive of the Stonham Housing Association and a range of other organisations providing housing for people. Clare was also a Non-Executive Director on the board of the Information Commissioner's Office and produced an independent report on the Early Years Foundation Stage to Her Majesty’s Government.  

Dame Clare said: “I am delighted to be joining the Partnership at a time of such critical change. I’ve been a long time admirer of its principles and look forward to taking up this important role.”

Michael Herlihy will begin his new role from 3 February 2020. He was appointed as Partnership Secretary and a member of the Partnership’s Executive Team in April 2018. Michael joined the Partnership from Smiths Group plc, where he was General Counsel for almost 10 years prior to which he spent 26 years at Imperial Chemical Industries plc including 10 as General Counsel. He has also held a variety of non-executive roles including that of Senior Independent Director at Imperial Brands plc. He is a solicitor and graduate of Oxford University. 

Michael said: “The roots of these new roles go all the way back to the original principles and organisation that Spedan Lewis designed for the Partnership and to be asked to take on this responsibility at such a challenging time is a huge honour.”

Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: “I’m delighted with these appointments and the experience both Clare and Michael will bring to these roles. The Independent Directors are new roles formed as part of our review of the Partnership’s governance structure.  They are designed to provide a source of insight and challenge on the extent to which they are upholding the Principles of the Constitution. Free from operational responsibilities, the Independent Directors work on behalf of the Chairman and Trustees of the Constitution, and will play a critical role in ensuring the integrity of the Partnership.”


The John Lewis Partnership ( owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis & Partners and Waitrose & Partners. Started as a radical idea nearly a century ago, the Partnership is now the largest employee-owned business in the UK, with 83,900 employees who are all Partners in the business and share in its profits. The Partnership operates on strong democratic principles, which means that every Partner has a say in how the organisation is run. The business has annual gross sales of over £11.7bn, almost 400 shops and a leading online business. Its commercial strategy is focused on differentiation rather than scale, through investment in innovation and Partner led service.


The Partnership has three governing authorities: Partnership Council, the Partnership Board and the Chairman. These three Governing Authorities are independent, equal and collectively responsible to Partners for the success of the Partnership.


The Partnership has a number of checks and balances. These are the processes and rules to ensure that each governing authority has influence over other governing authorities, preventing anyone gaining too much power. The Chairman initiated a review of our checks and balances which concluded in late 2018 recommending the creation of a new Independent Function that Clare and Michael will now lead.


John Lewis Partnership

Sarah Henderson

Partner & Senior External Communications Manager
Tel: 07764 676036