John Lewis' boss Andy Street has unmasked his ambition to become the mayor of the West Midlands.
The retail head will stand as a Conservative candidate - in an area where all but one of the local authorities are run by Labour - and has said he will step down as the John Lewis chief if he is successful.
The Labour party has put forward Siôn Simon, former Birmingham MP, as a candidate. The Liberal Democrats have not decided on a candidate for the role.
There have been rumours circling for a while that Street would make the move from retail and politics. He has been at the head of the department store for nine years.
Street is following in the footsteps of Mark Price, former managing director of Waitrose, who quit to become the minister for trade and investment.
He is a supporter of the West Midlands pushing through HS2, the controversial rail link between London, Birmingham and Leeds, and wants to make the region more competitive.
In a statement, John Lewis said: "Andy has indicated to the Chairman that he is interested in running for the office, but at this stage has not been formally selected. A formal process within the Conservative party will now take place.
"Should Andy be successful in his application to be the Conservative Party candidate, he has agreed with the Chairman that he should step down from his role and a further announcement will be made to confirm the succession plan for the future leadership of the John Lewis brand."