By Linda Hall • 10 May 2023 • 20:34
JOHN LEWS: No change in staff-owned status, Dame Sharon White pledged
Photo credit: johnlewispartnership.media
JOHN LEWIS staff backed the group’s chairwoman Dame Sharon White during the recent twice-yearly meeting of the partnership’s 60-strong council on May 10.
The department store and Waitrose supermarket owner reported a £234 million (€269 million) loss over the year ending last January, despite £12 billion (€13.8 billion) in sales, obliging it to abandon the staff bonus for only the second time since 1953.
Although the votes were symbolic rather than binding, they also carried considerable weight, as the council has the power to oust the chair of the partnership at any time should the members decide.
Earlier, White had courted criticism following reports that she was contemplating selling a stake in the company, which has belonged to the staff since the 1920s, in a bid to raise a much-needed £2 billion (€2.3 billion).
“I want to be absolutely categorical,” White declared prior to the vote. “The John Lews Partnership will always be an employee-owned business, no ifs, no buts. There is absolutely no question of demutualisation.”
White also said that the company would consider external investment if the partnership should ever find itself unable to fund plans through its own means.
But, she pledged, this would be done in way that was consistent with the practice of all partners sharing in the benefits of the business, as promised in the original staff ownership deal.
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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