Wednesday 29 April 2020 10:56 am

Waitrose hires ex-Sainsbury's director as new boss

Waitrose has appointed former Sainsbury’s buying director James Bailey as its new boss to steer the supermarket through the coronavirus crisis.

Bailey, who worked for Sainsbury’s for 18 years, will join the John Lewis Partnership as an executive director today and will be responsible for managing the supermarket’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

He will replace former Waitrose boss Rob Collins who stepped down this year amid a shake up of the partnership’s management structure. 

The restructuring involved replacing the separate management boards for John Lewis and Waitrose to create a single executive team. 

The search for an executive director for John Lewis’ department stores is underway. The struggling retailer could close some stores permanently following the coronavirus lockdown, it was reported last week.

John Lewis Partnership chairman Sharon White has accelerated a strategic review into the business, which will now be completed by the end of the summer.

White said today: “These new executive director roles at Waitrose and John Lewis will allow us to get the best of both worlds out of our new management structure. 

“We’ll have all the benefits of bringing together activities that are best organised pan-Partnership and reducing duplication while still recognising that there are important differences in the way you run a department store and a supermarket.”

Bailey said: “Waitrose is the UK’s best supermarket and it’s a privilege to join the team.”