John Lewis appoints Paula Nickolds as first woman boss

Paula Nickolds Image copyright Greg Funnell
Image caption Paula Nickolds will be John Lewis' first female managing director

Retailer John Lewis has announced that Paula Nickolds will become its new managing director in 2017, replacing Andy Street.

Ms Nickolds, 43, will begin the role in January 2017, taking over from interim lead director Dinos Rocos.

She will replace Andy Street, who is stepping down this month to run as Conservative candidate for Mayor of the West Midlands.

Ms Nickolds will be the retailer's first woman managing director.

She joined John Lewis in 1994 as a graduate trainee.

She held a number of senior roles before joining the board in 2013 as its buying and brand director.

She is currently the company's commercial director and was responsible for "innovation" in John Lewis's product range and the look and feel of its shops.

"As a partner with 22 years service, I know just how special the John Lewis Partnership is," she said in a statement.

"Driven by our unique business model, and with innovation in our DNA, I am immensely excited to lead John Lewis on the next stage of our journey."

Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership, said: "At a time of transformation in the retail sector, Paula's progressive and dynamic leadership is just what's needed for the next phase of modern retailing."

According to a spokesperson, all previous John Lewis managing directors have been appointed from within the company.

Mr Street joined in 1985, initially working in the firm's department stores, head office and manufacturing units.

He became director of personnel in 2002 and managing director in 2007.