Swann, Geddes and key insider battle for chairman's job at John Lewis

today Mar 4, 2019
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The race to replace Sir Charlie Mayfield as chairman of the John Lewis Partnership is on and it looks like two big external UK names are in the running with Paul Geddes and Kate Swann both being reported to be up for the role, along with a significant insider.

John Lewis Partnership is looking for a new chairman ahead of its current chief's departure

Both executives are leaving their current posts. Geddes is the outgoing boss of insurer Direct Line while Swann runs travel retail specialist SSP and was also formerly at the helm of WH Smith.

But they’re not the only candidates for the role with an internal favourite being Patrick Lewis. He’s the finance chief of the company and while he’s also a part owner due to the fact that the company is owned by its staff, he could have held a much bigger chunk of it if not for its unique history. Lewis’s great-grandfather founded the firm but his grandfather later turned it into a fully employee-owned operation. 

However, UK sources are divided over whether the company is more likely to appoint an outsider to the chairman’s post for the first time in its history. 

The decision is likely to be made in the second half of this year ahead of Mayfield’s departure in 2020.

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