Sharon White has been named as the John Lewis Partnership’s new chair, to succeed Sir Charlie Mayfield next year
A career civil servant, Ms White has been the chief executive of Ofcom, the UK’s communications services regulator, since March 2015.
Outgoing John Lewis chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said he recognised that Ms White was “not the conventional retail choice, but these are not conventional retail times, nor is the Partnership a conventional company”.
Ms White will become John Lewis’ sixth chair and will be paid a basic pay of £990,000.
Before joining Ofcom, Ms White was second permanent secretary at the Treasury, responsible for overseeing the public finances and prior to that held board level positions at the Ministry of Justice and Department for International Development.
She has also worked as an adviser at the Prime Minister’s Policy Unit and in Washington DC as a senior economist at the World Bank.
Ms White is also a non-executive board member of FTSE 100 house builder Barratt Developments Plc, and a trustee of Sadler’s Wells Trust Ltd.
She is a trained economist and studied at Cambridge University and University College London.
Ms White’s professional reputation recently received a boost after she was touted as a prospective candidate to replace Bank of England governor Mark Carney whose term expires in January 2020.
Sir Charlie Mayfield said in a statement: “Sharon White has had a stellar career in a number of senior strategic and executive roles and during a thorough, wide-ranging and extremely competitive search she stood out, both for me and for the Nominations Committee, as an exceptional candidate.
“I believe she has the vision, leadership, drive and flair to steer the Partnership through its next phase.”
Ms white said: “I am a passionate believer in the Partnership: Partners working together for each other’s well-being with the confidence to invest for the long-term and a focus on delivering for our customers in a rapidly changing retail environment.
“In my current role, my vision has been to ensure that consumers in fast-moving markets get high quality, reliable services at fair prices, from thriving businesses they can trust.
“Social purpose and commercial success flourish best together, which is why I am looking forward so much to working with Partners as we move ahead together.”