John Lewis merges customer director roles as Claire Pointon steps down

Pan-partnership customer director Charlotte Lock will take over responsibility for John Lewis’s customer activity, a year on from joining the business.

John LewisThe John Lewis Partnership is reducing the number of customer directors in its business from three to two, as Claire Pointon steps down after three years leading marketing for the John Lewis brand.

The business is combining its John Lewis customer director position and pan-partnership customer director position into one role, while promising “fresh investment” into its brands, loyalty, data and technology.

Pointon has been commended by John Lewis for a “very successful” three years delivering a “significant programme of change”. Key strategic shifts to have taken place during her tenure include the launch of entry-level range Anyday, the retirement of the ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’ brand promise and its replacement with ‘For All Life’s Moments’, and the continued digital transformation of the retailer.

She leaves the business to pursue a career outside the partnership, the business says.

Pan-partnership customer director Charlotte Lock will take over responsibility for John Lewis’s customer activity. The restructure aims to bring “extra focus” to the partnership’s brand purpose – ‘Working in partnership for a happier world’ – while delivering “even more value” to customers across all touchpoints.‘This is not just an ad campaign’: John Lewis repositions with new brand promise

Lock will now report into both executive director for strategy and commercial development Nina Bhatia and John Lewis’s executive director Pippa Wicks. She will work alongside Waitrose’s customer director Nathan Ansell, who joined in January to replace outgoing boss Martin George and remains in his role.

The pan-partnership customer director role was introduced in February last year, with responsibility for delivering a customer strategy that covered both John Lewis and its sister brand Waitrose. Lock stepped into the role from her previous position as data, loyalty and digital director at Co-op.

As part of the role, she was tasked with leading the development of the partnership’s customer capabilities and delivering a new loyalty proposition. She has also helped to create the ‘Building Happier Futures’ programme to support people who have experienced the care system, which became the focus of John Lewis’s Christmas campaign last year.John Lewis fails to beat Asda in Christmas ad effectiveness rankings

On unveiling its new brand promise in September, Pointon told Marketing Week the retailer wanted to set a “clear strategic direction for the business in terms of brand positioning” and better reflect changing consumer habits.

As part of this ambition John Lewis is keen to increase consideration for smaller, everyday purchases as it looks to connect with consumers across more occasions, more often.

The decision to replace Never Knowingly Undersold came as part of the business’s five-year turnaround strategy. In 2021, the first year of the plan, the business successfully cut its pre-tax losses from £517m to £26m.

However, while customer numbers were up 4% the partnership made a £99m loss over the first half of 2022, amid a combination of inflationary costs, the cost of living crisis and investment in supporting staff, customers and suppliers.