John Lewis hires new HR director as fears grow over massive job cuts

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John Lewis has appointed a new human resources director as fears grow over a wave of job cuts.Nikki Humphrey will chair the 80,000 employees of the partnership when she takes the job in October after stepping down as director of human resources at Virgin Atlantic airline.

It comes as John Lewis strives to restore his fortune and prepares to shut down stores for good after being forced to close during the lockdown.

Department chain president Dame Sharon White has embarked on a series of executive hires since taking office in March. Ms Humphrey’s appointment follows James Bailey, drafted in April to lead Waitrose, and Pippa Wicks, who is in charge of the department’s operations.

Dame Sharon’s first executive hiring was Nina Bhatia, and the two have since started working on a sweeping stimulus package for the loss-making chain.

She told staff this month that eight of the company’s 51 John Lewis branches would close, including its Birmingham store, putting 1,300 jobs at risk. His valuable staff bonus will likely be cut for the first time since 1953.

Once considered one of the biggest payers on the high street, the mutual was already facing a serious threat from the rise in online shopping before the coronavirus hit.

John Lewis has £ 2.4bn in debt and an employee-owned structure, making it impossible to raise cash by selling new shares.

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