The former head of Tesco has been announced as the new chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, one of the biggest and most high-pressure jobs in retail.

Jason Tarry was at Tesco for 33 years and served as UK and Ireland chief executive for his final six years at the supermarket.

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He is to take the reins of the company behind Waitrose and the John Lewis department stores in September, when Dame Sharon White steps down.

In so doing he will become only the seventh chairman in John Lewis’s history.

Dame Sharon is the shortest-serving chairman of the employee-owned business, after only staying for one five-year term.

She presided over two of the three occasions since 1953 that John Lewis employees, known as partners, did not receive an annual bonus.

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The company is facing financial pressures but managed to return to profit in its latest financial year.

Despite that, job losses loom.

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After announcing the profits, Dame Sharon White said the simpler business John Lewis is planning to become will inevitably require fewer members of staff.

She declined to say which roles or which parts of the company would be impacted.

No target has been set for reducing staff numbers yet, she added.

An end to the partnership model had been reportedly on the cards in 2023.

Dame Sharon survived a staff vote of confidence last year after the business posted annual losses worth hundreds of millions. Her potential solutions to the company’s financial difficulties also proved controversial.

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After announcing Mr Tarry as her replacement, John Lewis deputy chairman Rita Clifton said: “Huge thanks to Sharon for successfully leading the partnership through one of the most testing periods in its history – first COVID and then the cost of living crisis.”

Mr Tarry said he has “long been an admirer of the employee-ownership model”.

He worked in grocery, general merchandise and fashion during his time at Tesco and led the expansion of the F&F clothing range across Europe while in the group chief executive role at the supermarket.