REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth/File Photo

John Lewis Partnership, the parent company of department store John Lewis and supermarket chain Waitrose, today announced a new management structure, dispensing with the role of separate managing directors for both firms.

Consequently, Rob Collins, who heads Waitrose as MD will step down next year, when the changes take place.

The Future Partnership plan of the company envisages one executive team with direct responsibility for the performance and strategy of the whole Partnership. There will no longer be divisional boards.

The company said it has confirmed some of the new executive director appointments, and expects to announce further appointments over the coming months.

However, Collins, who has been with the Partnership for 26 years, decided to step down, the company said.

Rob Collins (Photo: Waitrose & Partners)

“Rob has been one of the central architects of our new plans and it’s a testament to his character that his commitment to the right course for the Partnership has not wavered despite his own role being removed in the new structure,” said Sir Charlie Mayfield, chairman of the John Lewis Partnership.

“When he leaves in January he will do so with the sincere thanks of the whole Partnership and with our best wishes for the future.”

Collins joined the company as a graduate trainee in 1993, and worked in a number of roles at both Waitrose and John Lewis. He has been the MD of Waitrose for the last four years.

Collins said he decided to leave as the new structure doesn’t have a role that is ‘right for him personally,’ but added that it the ‘right one for the future’ for the company.

“I have been closely involved in the planning of the Future Partnership programme and I’m very confident that the new structure is the right one for the future,” he said. “There isn’t a role in the new structure that I believe is right for me personally, and so I have decided to leave at the end of January.”