John Lewis Partnership appoints new President of the Partnership Council


The John Lewis Partnership today announces the appointment of a new President for its unique governing authority - the Partnership Council.

Following a robust recruitment process, featuring both internal and external candidates, the new President is a current Partner, starting on 13 October, reporting to the Partnership Council Steering Committee. 

Chris Earnshaw has been a Partner for 21 years and was Head of Shop Trading North for Waitrose & Partners and President of Waitrose & Partners Council. Chris started his career as an A- level management trainee in 1998 and has worked in a number of shops, developing his career within the Partnership. Chris has been Head of Branch for John Lewis & Partners in Liverpool and Cardiff.

Running for a three-year term, Chris replaces former Partnership Council President Trevor Phillips and will work alongside the recently appointed Independent Directors Dame Clare Tickell and Michael Herlihy. Chris will be responsible for promoting the independence, health and vitality of the Partnership’s unique democractic structure, where power is shared among 81,500 Partners. 

The first democratic council was set-up by the Partnership 100 years ago in 1919 and represents Partners opinion, to ensure the business is run for and on behalf of all Partners. The Council also holds the Chairman to account, influences policy and makes key governance decisions such as choosing the Trustees of the Constitution, selecting Partnership Board elected directors and changing the Constitution with the Chairman’s agreement. 

Partners Ben Sheppard, Louise Hymers and Martin Wright are members of the Partnership Council Steering Committee which appoints the President role. Ben said: “We’re delighted to welcome Chris as our new President. Our founder, Spedan Lewis, believed there was a better way of doing business by including Partners in decision making on how the business should be run and this role will help influence and amplify these voices in the Partnership.”

Chris Earnshaw, Partner & President of Partnership Council said: “I am absolutely delighted to be asked by the Partnership Council Steering Committee to carry out this role. It is a real privilege to lead the formal side of our democracy across the whole of the Partnership. It is what makes our business so special and I believe is a better way of doing business.

At a time when retail is going through such dynamic changes, our democratic structure will be our fundamental point difference, as we look to further develop the Partnership. My role is to ensure the voice of the Partner is supporting, shaping and influencing our unique business now and in the future."


About the John Lewis 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 81,500 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, 394 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.


John Lewis Partnership

Sarah Henderson
Partner & Senior External Communications Manager
Tel: 07764 676036