Mark Price, the managing director of Waitrose, is to leave the upmarket grocer next year, parent group John Lewis Partnership said today.
Price, who is also deputy chairman of the employee-owned partnership, will step down on 3 April.
It has been reported that he is being lined up to become the interim chairman of Channel 4 when the incumbent Lord Burns ends his term in January.
Waitrose retail director Rob Collins has been appointed to take over as managing director of the supermarket when Price steps down.
Collins has worked for 22 years at the partnership in a variety of senior roles. He worked at the group’s department store chain John Lewis, and in 2007 helped set up Waitrose’s online business. He was promoted to Waitrose retail director in 2012.
John Lewis Partnership chairman Sir Charlie Mayfield said Price had been an “outstanding success” at Waitrose.
He added: “Mark is pursuing new opportunities, but he will remain a passionate advocate of the partnership and its ownership model. He has had a long and distinguished career with the partnership and his leadership of Waitrose has seen outstanding success.
“As a member of the partnership board for 11 years and deputy chairman since 2013, Mark has played a key role in steering the partnership and has been a valued and trusted colleague.”
He added: “Rob Collins has been a central figure in Waitrose’s management team for a number of years and his strong leadership skills and operational success have ensured that he has been a central part of the board’s thinking on succession planning for some time. I’m confident that he will make the step up to the managing director role quickly and effectively.”
Figures published today by market researcher Kantar Worldpanel show that sales at Waitrose grew 2.1 per cent in the 12 weeks to 11 October.